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Kinsley on the Advantage of a Written First Amendment
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Michael Kinsley writes on the problem of not having a written First Amendment in Britain:

How American P.C. Culture Conquered Britain, Too

… Henry Porter, Vanity Fair’s London editor and a prominent British journalist in the anti-P.C. camp, reported talking to a group of [British] students recently. “I realized,” he explained, “that these kids have very few thoughts on the subject of liberty and far too many on the subject of personal rights and various classes of victimhood.” Porter noted that “this is one reason why the liberties that were accepted as being part of the British tradition, but are not written down anywhere, are so easily being attacked and readily abandoned.”

By the way, an interesting analogy to the growth of P.C. that might be worth studying in detail is the process by which Victorian restrictions on sex as a subject in literature emerged.

A lot of 18th Century novels, such as Fielding’s Tom Jones and Defoe’s Moll Flanders, were roughly PG-13 rated. For example, the full title of Defoe’s 1722 follow-up to Robinson Crusoe, was:

The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders, &c. Who was Born in Newgate, and during a Life of continu’d Variety for Threescore Years, besides her Childhood, was Twelve Year a Whore, five times a Wife (whereof once to her own Brother), Twelve Year a Thief, Eight Year a Transported Felon in Virginia, at last grew Rich, liv’d Honest, and died a Penitent. Written from her own Memorandums.

But by the mid-19th Century novels tended to be pretty close to G-rated.

That process by which this slowly reversed in the 20th Century is well-known, with celebrated landmarks like Ulysses, Lady Chatterley’s Lover, and Lolita. A movie adaptation of Tom Jones won the 1963 Best Picture Oscar as symbolic of the revolt against Victorian restrictions. You don’t hear much about that movie anymore, but it was a big deal at the time. In 1965, the Amorous Adventures of Moll Flanders starring Kim Novak was a follow-up.

But I don’t know much about the beginnings of Victorianism. My hunch is that it seemed like a good idea at the time. Idealistic and/or status-striving young people perhaps demanded it?

 
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  1. Proto-Victorianism starts with John WEsley’s Methodist revival. Methodists were encouraged to stop drinking and whoring, and lead productive, NEd Flanders-ish lives. Young Methodists were often thoroughly embarrassed by their foul-mouthed, hard-drinking grandparents of the Ben Franklin generation.

    As with any fashion, cutting-edge types pushed it farther, generation after generation, to the point where the apocryphal table legs were being called limbs and (?)Georgian furniture-legs being covered lest someone think of naked flesh.

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    • Replies: @Sean
    The table legs coverings were taken off at weekends . Furniture was super expensive and people wore heavy shoes. It was to protect the legs from damage.
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  2. Michael Kinsley is still alive? I remember once hearing that he had a serious illness, and I haven’t heard anything about him for a long while, so I had assumed he was dead. I’m glad to hear that he is still with us and still active.

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    • Replies: @Daniel H
    Ha, ha.
    , @MEH 0910
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Kinsley#Personal

    In 2002 Kinsley publicly revealed that he had Parkinson's disease.
     
    , @Jim Don Bob
    Kinsley is one of the more fair minded and intelligent liberals. He is also famous for saying "A gaffe is when a politician tells the truth – some obvious truth he isn't supposed to say."
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_gaffe#Kinsley_gaffe
  3. Why would Brits have any less contempt for our First Amendment than they do for our Second? After all, we got the latter from them, we made up the former on the spot.

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    • Replies: @Simon in London
    Good point. First they took our guns (starting with the fear of Anarchist terrorists post-WW1 - Churchill was partly to blame as I recall), then they took our voices. We never had US style free speech - always had draconian Libel laws - but until the 1990s there was a presumption of liberty. With New Labour enthroning Political Correctness as the State religion in 1997, this ceased and people stopped saying "It's a free country, isn't it?" - it plainly no longer is.
    , @anon
    It's not the constitution that provides the protection it's the veneration of the constitution and this veneration only survives if each generation transmits it to the next.

    Britain had a tradition of liberty - Bill of Rights etc - but the chain of veneration was broken by the media/schools in the same way the media/schools are currently trying to do in the US.

    The key factor in the faster cultural poisoning of the UK is the almost total cultural dominance of the BBC that lasted from the end of WWII until the spread of the internet (and is still 70% true now).

    So I don't think having a written 1st amendment in the UK would have helped much as long as there was such a dominant cultural institution trying to destroy it.

    On the other hand if defending it was made a condition of employment in the media then yeah.
  4. I don’t think it’s not nearly so much that the first amendment is written down – it hasn’t mattered much that the [framers' intended] powers of congress are written down – as it is that the left, to defend first communists and then later pornography, jihadist imams, etc, spent the 65 years between Truman and Bush 43 advocating the most extreme and absolutist reading possible, and declaring it to be the very most sacred and holy principle not only of constitutional jurisprudence but our entire secular religion.

    And of course they were completely successful on both fronts. But they ended up being so successful that they boxed themselves into a corner. Now they have to figure out how to undo decades of first-amendment-absolutist precedent of their own creation, without creating an opening for conservatives to ban communist/pornographic/jihadist/etc speech.

    And on top of that they have to sell their new policy on speech to an American public which has been utterly convinced of the principle that anyone who’s against first amendment absolutism is an Evil Fascist Nazi.

    Hell, even I’m a first amendment absolutist even though I recognize that means, on some level, I’ve been played.

    A lot of it also is that it’s the first amendment. If it had been the sixth or twelfth amendment I don’t think people would take it nearly so seriously.

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    • Replies: @(((Owen)))
    The First Amendment was actually listed third in the Bill Of Rights as proposed by the First Congress.

    Don't worry; supposed Constitutional scholar Rafael 'Ted' Cruz got the same thing wrong on stage at the Republican debate yesterday.
    , @whorefinder
    I couldn't agree more. The U.S. left since the 1920s has used the 1st Amendment to get their radical ideas into the mainstream. Now they are faced with their own dragon...for now. I have full confidence in their ability to become unashamedly hypocritical when it suits them.

    As to the British issue of not having a written first Amendment, Britain never had free speech, even in unwritten format---- but this issue of writing down rights/laws is old as time, and shows why it is very important to write down and publicize laws .

    For example, in the Roman Republic, one of the HUGE issues between Patricians and Plebeians was the fact that only Patricians were allowed to be judges, but there were NO written laws. So many times, when a Pleb was in court against a Patrician, a Patrician would claim that some obscure unwritten law or edict that was never written down somehow made the Pleb lose, and the Patrician judge would whole-heartedly agree.

    It got Plebs furious, because there really was nothing a Pleb could do.

    So the Plebs, through much rioting and striking and such, finally got the Patricians to write down the laws. These laws would have to be publicized, by putting them in the Roman forum. They were put on tablets, numbered 12, and so became known as the famous Twelve Tables. So for the Plebs, it was a victory and an end to a lot of monkey-business; the Patricians couldn't cite to an obscure unwritten law, but had to base any decision on the rights and edicts enshrined on the Twelve Tables.

    The Plebs (and the Patricians, through their opposition) recognized that merely the act of writing down a law and making it public and known and displayed was in itself more than symbolic, but excessively important in protecting the people from the government and keeping a Constitution intact.

    Eventually, however, not even the Twelve Tables could keep the rise of the emperors. The Twelve Tables were lost in the midsts of the Imperial reign, largely forgotten for centuries before that.

    , @SFG
    I think as all the old lefties who believed in freedom of speech die off and are replaced by the SJWs, this might end. Remember, they control the universities and the media.

    Nobody had heard of gay marriage 30 years ago.

    And no, I'm not happy.
    , @Vinay
    "Now they have to figure out how to undo decades of first-amendment-absolutist precedent of their own creation...A lot of it also is that it’s the first amendment. If it had been the sixth or twelfth amendment I don’t think people would take it nearly so seriously."

    Nicely summed up. Incidentally, conservatives seem to be much better at making dramatic U-turns in messaging and are not nearly so hampered by their past positions.

    At the risk of sounding smug, I think it's because liberals have had a long winning streak of having their beliefs (anti-imperialism, anti-racism, women's rights, gay rights etc.) turn into conventional wisdom, without ever needing to reverse themselves. Conservatives have had lots of practice in abandoning supposedly cherished principles to accommodate reality.
    , @Kevin O'Keeffe
    "A lot of it also is that it’s the first amendment. If it had been the sixth or twelfth amendment I don’t think people would take it nearly so seriously."

    Yes, I think you're correct. And by the same token, I do not think it is mere coincidence that this, the most vital of Constitutional Amendments, wound up being the first.
    , @NOTA
    I think freedom of speech has benefitted a lot from the media (especially newspapers) being powerful. for both practical and cultural reasons, U.S. newspapers tend to support free speech, so for many years, there was a bipartisan set of powers in the U.S. who were very strongly in favor of very broad free speech rights.

    The people who supported pornography or communism or anarchism or naziism or blasphemy were always a very small fraction of the support for free speech--mostly it was people who didn't want the state deciding who'd be allowed to say what.
    , @Colleen Pater
    fortunately for them they own the courts press entertainment education from head start to post grad new media old media etc etc etc etc
  5. @Mr. Anon
    Michael Kinsley is still alive? I remember once hearing that he had a serious illness, and I haven't heard anything about him for a long while, so I had assumed he was dead. I'm glad to hear that he is still with us and still active.

    Ha, ha.

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  6. For the British, ‘Us’ meant the rulers of a God-given empire, ‘Them’ were the benighted subjects, suffering from loose morals, loose speech, and the demon drink. ‘Us’ launched missionaries to open soup kitchens and clinics, and to preach the best manners. Prohibition was the bridge too far.

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  7. Anon says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    Most striking is how Jewish-Americans have gone from liberty to censorship.

    And they have the most power in government, media, and academia.

    And their influence went to UK too.

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    • Replies: @oh its just me

    Most striking is how Jewish-Americans have gone from liberty to censorship.
     
    not very striking - in group out group strategy. 50+ years ago, when they were dismantling western christian culture and values, free speech was quite useful, now, with them in power it's not so useful.

    I think UK MSM is more likely to openly criticize and discuss immigration and israel.

    As for "victorian' values- probably a reaction to the decadance of the last georges - not to mention the gin craze and other societal corruption - as Peter Hitchens points out - Methodism saved the UK underclasses last time, next time, it might be Islam that even white brits turn to for structure, community, and discipline. Certainly doesn't look like the CofE or any Christian group is willing to do that.

    Steve:
    Another 'interesting' aspect of the transition from decadence to Victorian values (which people here might belittle but - really are we a better society??) is racial - in India - prior to Victorian values - let's just say a decade or so before the mutiny - british officers were intermarrying at a fairly high rate- afterwards, english women in particular put a stop to it.
    I wish there were english women like that now.

    , @SFG
    Sure, compare Lenny Bruce and the Slate crowd.

    Dissent looks a lot different when you have power than when you don't.
  8. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    Trollope’s novels are very G rated. Of course he was a Victorian writer, writing about middle and upper class Victorians. But he was far from idealizing these Victorians. His novels were generally about greedy and dishonest, petty and materialistic status-striving middle/upper class Victorians and their constant scheming for wealth and status.

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  9. @Reg Cæsar
    Why would Brits have any less contempt for our First Amendment than they do for our Second? After all, we got the latter from them, we made up the former on the spot.

    Good point. First they took our guns (starting with the fear of Anarchist terrorists post-WW1 – Churchill was partly to blame as I recall), then they took our voices. We never had US style free speech – always had draconian Libel laws – but until the 1990s there was a presumption of liberty. With New Labour enthroning Political Correctness as the State religion in 1997, this ceased and people stopped saying “It’s a free country, isn’t it?” – it plainly no longer is.

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    • Replies: @Anonymous Nephew
    When I suggested to my undergraduate son that the UK might have been better off with no black immigration, his response was "Dad - you can't say that !".
    , @yaqub the mad scientist
    This lecture is the best history of the right to bear arms in Britain, the philosophies behind that right, and the gradual loss of that right that I've encountered. Lots of citations.
  10. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    I don’t know, Steve.
    There has been a very long tradition of ‘bawdiness’ and ‘earthiness’ in English literature that dates from at least the time of Chaucer, and is to be found in Shakespeare, various 17th century and 18th century authors, the American, Ben Franklin, was no exception, and perhaps has its continuation with such luminaries as Benny Hill, Bernard Manning, Viz Comic etc.
    For one thing, Victorian times were an age of great hypocrisy in which ‘respectable’ gentlemen frequented prostitutes, secretly, on a massive scale. Just read the eye-watering statistics about the proportion of young women in London who were engaged in prostitution. Mrs Beeton, of cook book fame, was infected with syphilis by Mr Beeton, of which she died. That Victorian rogue ‘Walter’ recounts his innumerable escapades in his bragging volume ‘My Secret Life’. In the 18th century, James Boswell, biographer of Samuel Johnson, is similarly forthright.
    I think that a lot of Victorian prudery was related to religion, just as 1950s Italian or Irish prudery was related to catholicism. In fact, although, Georgian bawdiness is celebrated, that also was ‘officially’ a prudish society, as writings by magistrates, legislators etc of that time attest.
    I think it was more of a case of ‘dual morality’, public and private.

    The prints of the famed artist Hogarth are very much morality tales.

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    • Replies: @5371
    Your comment is part of the very long tradition of pretending to contradict posts by disputing arguments they never made. How does the fact that people had sex in private refute the claim that they were reticent about sex in print?
    , @Anonymous
    A good reference point of the British bawdy and earthy humor are the famed 'naughty' 'seaside postcards', particularly those of Donald McGill. I don't know if they are known in the States.
    George Orwell wrote a whole essay rhapsodising about them.
    , @Jonathan Mason

    That Victorian rogue ‘Walter’ recounts his innumerable escapades in his bragging volume ‘My Secret Life’.
     
    By the standards of today, every sexual encounter 'Walter' ever had was a rape, except for the ones that he paid for.
    , @Travis
    Sailer alluded to the long tradition of ‘bawdiness’ and ‘earthiness’ in English literature...such as Tome Jones (written in the 18th century, 100 years before the Victorian era)

    The question he posed was what caused such a change in the Victorian era and what caused it to reverse after 1900. his post never claimed men stopped visiting prostitutes during the Victorian era, but the literature and culture certainly changed just as the current PC era is vastly different from the previous era. The comparison is apt , as the PC era forces the elites to pretend race does not exist , just as the victorian era forced writers to pretend sex did not exist.

    In 100 years from now, people will look back in amazement that Americans pretended that race did not exist , or believed that human evolution stopped 80,000 years ago. and they will mock us for destroying the career of Tom Watson because he noticed a glaring fact about the races which most people have known for generations.
    , @Pericles


    For one thing, Victorian times were an age of great hypocrisy in which ‘respectable’ gentlemen frequented prostitutes, secretly, on a massive scale. Just read the eye-watering statistics about the proportion of young women in London who were engaged in prostitution.

     

    I wonder how it compares to, say, Hollywood.
  11. 1296851

    Where lover’s don’t have to keep their promises .

    Is he expecting a flood ?

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  12. Victorianism in Britain was a reaction against the libertine Regency & Georgian period that preceded it. Lots of porn, whores, and gin. The next generations coming in (slowly) decided they didn’t want to be like that. Then future generations changed their minds.

    History is just a sine wave. Up and down, ebb and flow. Reaction and counter-reaction. The pc censorship of tomorrow will be replaced by something more free-thinking in the future. But we may not be around to see it.

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  13. @Anonymous
    I don't know, Steve.
    There has been a very long tradition of 'bawdiness' and 'earthiness' in English literature that dates from at least the time of Chaucer, and is to be found in Shakespeare, various 17th century and 18th century authors, the American, Ben Franklin, was no exception, and perhaps has its continuation with such luminaries as Benny Hill, Bernard Manning, Viz Comic etc.
    For one thing, Victorian times were an age of great hypocrisy in which 'respectable' gentlemen frequented prostitutes, secretly, on a massive scale. Just read the eye-watering statistics about the proportion of young women in London who were engaged in prostitution. Mrs Beeton, of cook book fame, was infected with syphilis by Mr Beeton, of which she died. That Victorian rogue 'Walter' recounts his innumerable escapades in his bragging volume 'My Secret Life'. In the 18th century, James Boswell, biographer of Samuel Johnson, is similarly forthright.
    I think that a lot of Victorian prudery was related to religion, just as 1950s Italian or Irish prudery was related to catholicism. In fact, although, Georgian bawdiness is celebrated, that also was 'officially' a prudish society, as writings by magistrates, legislators etc of that time attest.
    I think it was more of a case of 'dual morality', public and private.

    The prints of the famed artist Hogarth are very much morality tales.

    Your comment is part of the very long tradition of pretending to contradict posts by disputing arguments they never made. How does the fact that people had sex in private refute the claim that they were reticent about sex in print?

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  14. I’ve thought a lot about what gave rise to Victorianism. Joseph Addison, Richard Steele and Samuel Johnson were fundamental to it, I believe. Queen Victoria herself was a fan and promoter of at least some of The Spectator‘s regular republications.

    In the late 17th century virtue had been made to appear ridiculous (see Congreve) but near the start of the 18th, Addison in The Spectator wrote, “I have repainted the batteries of ridicule.” Macaulay wrote, “So effectually did [Addison] retort on vice the mockery which had recently been directed against virtue, that, since his time, the open violation of decency has always been considered, amongst us, the sure mark of a fool.”

    Richard Steele wrote of the following encounter with a young prostitute that over the course of a century affected men’s hearts.

    …This Impediment being in my Way… I could observe as exact Features as I had ever seen, the most agreeable Shape, the finest Neck and Bosom, in a Word, the whole Person of a Woman exquisitely Beautiful. She affected to allure me with a forced Wantonness in her Look and Air; but I saw it checked with Hunger and Cold: Her Eyes were wan and eager, her Dress thin and tawdry, her Mein genteel and childish. This strange Figure gave me much Anguish of Heart, and to avoid being seen with her I went away, but could not forbear giving her a Crown. The poor thing sighed, curtisied, and with a Blessing, expressed with the utmost Vehemence, turned from me.

    Johnson objected to any depiction of evil that made it more appealing than good.

    These works or read and reread widely for a hundred and fifty years.

    Sir Walter Scott’s novels sold extremely well for the time and made him a lot of money. The Bronte Sisters were steeped in his novels. He’s adorably proper. Incidentally, Scott wrote that a woman has as much right to say what passes in her house as her husband has. Take that, feminists.

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  15. What you can and cannot say is much the same in both America and Britain. You won’t be prosecuted in the US for thought crime, but you might as well be considering the damage it may do you. You could lose your livelihood and never find satisfactory employment again. Many people would find that worse than prosecution. How much help was the First Amendment to James Watson?

    The mistake is to think conduct is dictated by laws or courts. It isn’t. The media and entertainment industry have more power than judges and legislators.

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    • Agree: dfordoom
    • Replies: @grey enlightenment2
    This belief that people in Europe getting arrested for writing stuff is mostly superstition . Maybe it happens a handful of times, but it's not really a jail sentence more than a symbolic gesture. Richard Spencer describes being 'arrested' in Hungary and it amounted to little more than sitting in a processing room for a little while. It's a tradeoff : no first amendment but otherwise soft on crime and comfy EU-approved dorm room jail conditions vs. being very hard on crime (with mandatory sentences) as America is ,with worst prisons and longest sentences second to Iran, Somali, or N. Korea.
    , @JackOH
    "You won’t be prosecuted in the US for thought crime, but you might as well be considering the damage it may do you."

    Agree, mostly. The First Amendment, academic freedom, or, for that matter, corporate mission statements don't really enter into the day-to-day business of how thought and speech are molded into patterns by our superiors, and how people who deviate from those patterns are punished. I don't mean dissident firebrands getting publicly whacked, either. I'm talking about people who in good faith believe they're doing their jobs as workers or citizens, then suddenly find themselves dropped from meetings, their offices relocated, phone calls not returned, etc.
  16. @Rob McX
    What you can and cannot say is much the same in both America and Britain. You won't be prosecuted in the US for thought crime, but you might as well be considering the damage it may do you. You could lose your livelihood and never find satisfactory employment again. Many people would find that worse than prosecution. How much help was the First Amendment to James Watson?

    The mistake is to think conduct is dictated by laws or courts. It isn't. The media and entertainment industry have more power than judges and legislators.

    This belief that people in Europe getting arrested for writing stuff is mostly superstition . Maybe it happens a handful of times, but it’s not really a jail sentence more than a symbolic gesture. Richard Spencer describes being ‘arrested’ in Hungary and it amounted to little more than sitting in a processing room for a little while. It’s a tradeoff : no first amendment but otherwise soft on crime and comfy EU-approved dorm room jail conditions vs. being very hard on crime (with mandatory sentences) as America is ,with worst prisons and longest sentences second to Iran, Somali, or N. Korea.

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    • Replies: @fnn

    This belief that people in Europe getting arrested for writing stuff is mostly superstition . Maybe it happens a handful of times, but it’s not really a jail sentence more than a symbolic gesture.
     
    Do you really consider this sentence a "symbolic gesture"?
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simon_Sheppard_(activist)#Criminal_convictions_and_imprisonment

    On 10 July 2009, Sheppard was sentenced to 4 years and 10 months in prison, and his co-defendant, Whittle, was convicted of five similar offences.[23] These sentences for publishing material on the Internet were described as "groundbreaking" by Adil Khan, representing Humberside police, whilst Sheppard's lawyer, Adrian Davies, said in his defence during the trial that he had come from a "very troubled background" and revealed that his mother had committed suicide, whilst noting that Sheppard was an intelligent man who had problems with authority, especially the police.[24] In January 2010, Sheppard and Whittle lost an appeal against their convictions, but succeeded in having their sentences reduced slightly.[25]

    Sheppard was arrested again on 25 January 2013 for breaching his licence conditions. The breach related to an article entitled "Spree Killers" from the Heritage and Destiny publication. Sheppard was returned to prison for a further three months.[3]
     

    , @Stogumber
    @grey enlightenment 2:
    In Germany, you can be arrested for quite a time. This has been the case with Horst Mahler (11 years), Silvia Stolz (3 1/2 years), Ernst Zuendel (5 years), Guenter Deckert (5 years) as well as Axel Moeller (3 1/2 years).
    Normally, sentences begin with fines, then come suspended sentences and jail is only the last resort.
    Prominent figures are more apt to get longer jail time.
    Even if Holocaus denial or antisemitism are the most prominent offenses, sentences rely mostly on a mixture of different offenses, e.g. disparaging of the state (don't know how this would be called in Anglo-American law). Editors or Internet administrators are often sentenced because of things other people said and they have transmitted.
    , @Mr. Anon
    "This belief that people in Europe getting arrested for writing stuff is mostly superstition - "

    That would be news to this woman:

    British woman arrested for FaceBook post

    Or this guy:

    Paul Weston arrested for quoting Winston Churchill

    Or any number of other people, as you can readily find from a simple Google search.

    People in Europe getting arrested for writing stuff is far from a superstition - it is an increasingly common occurrence.
    , @anon
    It's not superstition at all - Marine Le Pen and Nick Griffin for two. However they are mostly symbolic as the aim is to frighten people into keeping quiet.
    , @Harry Baldwin
    Richard Spencer describes being ‘arrested’ in Hungary and it amounted to little more than sitting in a processing room for a little while.

    From news reports:
    Police forced the hotel to cancel the reservations for guests, put pressure on the governments of France and Russia to ban speakers from arriving in the country, and ordered the venue to break their contract with the National Policy Institute. . .

    Even more incredibly, one of the American organizers of the conference was actually arrested at the airport, detained overnight (without communication of the charges), and then deported. . .

    Around 60 police officers in a dozen police vehicles converged on the Clock House Cafe in Buda late on Friday evening and took the names and passport numbers of everyone in attendance. Only Spencer and another unnamed American associate were arrested and taken away. . .

    So, no big deal? Picked up by armed police, taken to the station and held for a few hours--who wouldn't laugh that off? Hardly enough to discourage you from speaking your mind, right?
    , @SFG
    I wonder if they didn't want to mess with an American?
  17. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    On the theme of prudery band hypocrisy, the Reverend Peter Ball (really) a very senior English Anglican cleric was recently imprisoned, at an advanced age, for various sexual molestations of young male acolytes who had sought his spiritual guidance.
    The Rev. Ball, was particular noted for his apparent humbleness and asceticism, taken to the point of habitually donning a monk’s habit.
    One of Britain’s Law Lords, no less, described the Rev. Ball as ‘one of the kindest, gentliest, saintly men I have ever met in my life’.

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  18. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @Anonymous
    I don't know, Steve.
    There has been a very long tradition of 'bawdiness' and 'earthiness' in English literature that dates from at least the time of Chaucer, and is to be found in Shakespeare, various 17th century and 18th century authors, the American, Ben Franklin, was no exception, and perhaps has its continuation with such luminaries as Benny Hill, Bernard Manning, Viz Comic etc.
    For one thing, Victorian times were an age of great hypocrisy in which 'respectable' gentlemen frequented prostitutes, secretly, on a massive scale. Just read the eye-watering statistics about the proportion of young women in London who were engaged in prostitution. Mrs Beeton, of cook book fame, was infected with syphilis by Mr Beeton, of which she died. That Victorian rogue 'Walter' recounts his innumerable escapades in his bragging volume 'My Secret Life'. In the 18th century, James Boswell, biographer of Samuel Johnson, is similarly forthright.
    I think that a lot of Victorian prudery was related to religion, just as 1950s Italian or Irish prudery was related to catholicism. In fact, although, Georgian bawdiness is celebrated, that also was 'officially' a prudish society, as writings by magistrates, legislators etc of that time attest.
    I think it was more of a case of 'dual morality', public and private.

    The prints of the famed artist Hogarth are very much morality tales.

    A good reference point of the British bawdy and earthy humor are the famed ‘naughty’ ‘seaside postcards’, particularly those of Donald McGill. I don’t know if they are known in the States.
    George Orwell wrote a whole essay rhapsodising about them.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jonathan Mason

    A good reference point of the British bawdy and earthy humor are the famed ‘naughty’ ‘seaside postcards’, particularly those of Donald McGill. I don’t know if they are known in the States.
     
    Yes, they seem to have been strongly associated with the 30's and World War II, but were still on sale in the 60's in newsagents everywhere, so must have been pretty popular.

    This kind of humor came from the music hall comic tradition.

    In the same vein were the bawdy innuendo songs of George Formby, once one of the biggest movie stars in the world, like When I'm Cleaning Windows and My Little Stick of Blackpool Rock (for the innocent--what does Rock rhyme with?) Formby was an early influence on the Beatles, (Lovely Rita, Meter Maid is very Formbyesque) and George Harrison owned more than one of Formby's ukeleles purchased from his estate after his death in 1962.
  19. In matters of sexual illiberty, religion played a part. This began with the Puritan movement. Another aspect was class struggle: the uprising bourgeoisie outraged (sincerely or make.-believe) at the loose ways of aristocracy.
    But the most interesting part is certainly the part of the lawyers.
    It’s quite similar to the debates about slavery. Everyone wants to identify with the heroical figures who made an end to it. Nobody wants to take a deep look in the ways how slavery became the law of the land.
    It seems as if the legal class doesn’t like to be held responsible on historical reasons – it would undermine the assertiveness of the present lawmakers, lawyers and judges.

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  20. @Simon in London
    Good point. First they took our guns (starting with the fear of Anarchist terrorists post-WW1 - Churchill was partly to blame as I recall), then they took our voices. We never had US style free speech - always had draconian Libel laws - but until the 1990s there was a presumption of liberty. With New Labour enthroning Political Correctness as the State religion in 1997, this ceased and people stopped saying "It's a free country, isn't it?" - it plainly no longer is.

    When I suggested to my undergraduate son that the UK might have been better off with no black immigration, his response was “Dad – you can’t say that !“.

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    • Replies: @Rob McX
    "You can't say that" - funnily enough, that's the title of Ken Livingstone's memoirs. It's meant to be ironic, supposedly indicating his penchant for uttering truths people didn't want to hear. He was in fact one of the people most responsible for imposing PC on Britain.
  21. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    Up until the early 1970s, the USA, was ,in fact, a typically prudish conservative society, repressing any hint of ‘public obscenity’.
    Compare it to today’s status quo. The porn pumping-stations – no pun intended of San Fernando constantly flood the world with multiple acts of buggery, to the point where obscenity is universal, ubiquitous and easier to view than making the proverbial ‘cup of tea’.
    One event can be blamed for this genesis, namely the ‘porno-chic’ surrounding Deep Throat, and the way ‘senior psychologists’ the ‘great and the good’ Hollywood A listers etc etc etc lent it an unwarranted air of notoriety.
    This happened at a strange and curious time in US history, the Vietnam and ‘Civil Rights’ traumatised nation was lost in a national loss of self confidence and belief.
    One ‘Throat’ story that always amuses me concerns the viewing of the film in the Nixon era Whitehouse cinema, when the jowlhound was away (the mice played).
    ‘Senior Nixon men’, – now that’s a great and evocative phrase of the era, shouted out crude remarks and made ribald comments throughout the showing of the film.

    Deep Throat was, of course, was made by some rather shady Italian Americans.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Harry Baldwin
    Actually, I heard Nixon watched Deep Throat three times. He wanted to get it down Pat.
    , @Former Darfur
    Explicit films for private sale go back as far as the invention of the 16mm film format or "gauge". The Italian mob was involved in the distribution and such things were discreetly vended in every major city, and are indeed highly collectible today. They would usually be shown to gatherings of males in smoke filled rooms, hence they were called "smokers". Humor, rather than masturbation was the ostensible purpose: presumably people bought them for home use for that.

    In 16mm a ten minute reel was usually $50. When 8mm came out they were a little cheaper, depending on the market: some places had to pay more protection to the mob and cops than others.

    Mailing such films or accepting orders for same via US Mail was a federal offense. Distributors were careful to send them by UPS or by truck.

    While plenty of films tried to skirt porno laws, I think Deep Throat was the first 100 percent hardcore film openly screened as such in the US.
  22. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    Perhaps DH Lawrence’s most lasting achievement was to introduce the slang euphemism ‘John Thomas’ into the English language.
    Still embarrassing to those men who happened to be christened by that particular Welsh couplet.

    Read More
  23. A movie adaptation of Tom Jones won the 1963 Best Picture Oscar as symbolic of the revolt against Victorian restrictions. You don’t hear much about that movie anymore, but it was a big deal at the time.

    Starring Albert Finney
    Susannah York
    Hugh Griffith
    Edith Evans
    Diane Cilento
    Joyce Redman

    ****** 1963 also being prior to the pill and no fault divorce pioneered by NY state I believe.

    Read More
    • Replies: @tbraton
    One of my all time favorite movies. First saw it in a first run movie theater when I was in college, before I had read the book, and loved it from the start. Great directing, great acting and great screenplay (by John Osborne, a leading English playwright at the time: "Look Back in Anger," "The Entertainer"), not to mention a great book (reading which after seeing the movie made me appreciate even more the effort of Osborne, the screenwriter, in compressing that sprawling novel to roughly a 2-hour film).

    BTW to show how much tastes can change in a relatively short time, about 10 years later I was dating a young woman about 10 years younger than I. When she asked me what my favorite movies were, I answered "Tom Jones." I later discovered that she thought I was referring to the popular (then) Welsh singer Tom Jones (who has been forgotten by most people today).
  24. @Anonymous Nephew
    When I suggested to my undergraduate son that the UK might have been better off with no black immigration, his response was "Dad - you can't say that !".

    “You can’t say that” – funnily enough, that’s the title of Ken Livingstone’s memoirs. It’s meant to be ironic, supposedly indicating his penchant for uttering truths people didn’t want to hear. He was in fact one of the people most responsible for imposing PC on Britain.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jonathan Mason
    Probably from the old music hall song, You Can't Do That There 'Ere.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6DV9cgaf2oM

    John Lennon also had a song called You Can't Do That as the B side of a Beatles single.
  25. I (quickly) read the article, and was amused to find this little bon mot.

    “It will not help you if someone is offended by some theory you spin after two or three glasses of wine at a dinner party, or if students decide to picket your lectures because they object to what you say about dinosaurs.”

    Absurdly, Kinsley implies that the current threat to free expression on campus is from picketing fundamentalists who disagree with biology professors on the origin of the species.

    Is he a complete idiot? Or is he willfully censoring his own thoughts to avoid the pc police-the very subject of the article in which the sentence occurs?

    Even a guy who’s not in academia is afraid to speak his mind* about academia. An absurd situation.

    joeyjoejoe

    *I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt, and assuming that Kinsley is not in fact a complete idiot.

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    • Replies: @NOTA
    Perhaps he thinks his audience is more likely to worry about the risk of creationists shutting down a biology they don't like by protests than the risk of feminists shutting down a psychology class they don't like.
    , @Jack D
    Good catch that shows what a liar Kinsley is. Has there ever been even one student demonstration against the teaching of evolution? Compare that to the hundreds of incidents where professors are picketed or forced to resign, lectures are disrupted, speakers are disinvited, etc. because they violate some leftist trope (for example suggesting that you have a free speech right to wear Halloween costumes that might micro-offend someone else). But Kinsley picks for his example a supposed Christian hot button. Either he is being deeply insincere or else is engaging in projection (a common leftist fault).
  26. I am guessing Victorianism was rooted in the growth of the British empire. If you are going to be the administrators of most of the globe, your upper middle-class needs to be sober and hard-working. Attitudes filtered down from there and to some extent up to the aristocracy, encouraged by Victoria and her husband Albert. Victorianism faded as the empire did.

    This emphasis on the First Amendment is overrated. Government censorship here in the UK is non-existent. Attempts at honest discourse in America on immigration and race make you a target for social tarring and feathering. It is what you can freely discuss in open society without angry mobs barracking you fhat really counts. All the nonsense on safe spaces and white privilege which is all the rage in American colleges have made little impact here despite the efforts of local third rate academics.

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    • Replies: @Weltanschauung
    I agree that a legally entrenched freedom of speech, valuable though it is, is insufficient when public opinion is hostile to open discussion. Conversely, official censorship without public support can become a joke or a rallying point. George Bernard Shaw had great fun at the expense of the Lord Chamberlain's office, whose approval was required before a play could be staged. In our own day, Jean Raspail has brought out a reprint of Le Camp des saints with a new index of passages that violate the various antidefamation laws that have been enacted since 1973. The French laws are not retroactive.
    , @Veracitor

    Government censorship here in the UK is non-existent.
     
    Ali Choudhury, by emitting such remarks you imply that you expect readers to accept them as true, which is the same as implying that your readers are stupid, which has, as one might say, the character of an insult.

    Government censorship in the UK is enforced by the police and by judges who openly disdain the Common Law. Judges like Shamim Qureshi who were appointed specifically to mock, demoralize, and terrorize ordinary Englishmen and Englishwomen:

    [I]n March 2015 [Bristol Crown Court Judge Shamim Qureshi] ordered hardline Christian preacher Mike Overd to pay a £200 fine and pay £250 compensation* after the former paratrooper quoted offensive passages from the Bible concerning homosexuality in public.
     
    In England and Scotland for more than a decade, any Christian who reads the Bible aloud in Hyde Park or any public place has been liable to be taken in custody for the crime of "hardline preaching." Now, to ensure conviction, he may be tried by a Sharia Tribunal judge who moonlights as a Crown Court Judge and rules without regard for the Common Law or the British Constitution.

    *Plus £1200 "costs," according to other stories about the incident. After a public outcry Overd's appeal from Muslim Judge Qureshi's abusive ruling was allowed by English Judge David Ticehurst in December 2015, but not for legal error-- only on the grounds that the CPS had not adduced sufficient evidence to support the conviction. In other words, Ticehurst ruled that Qureshi convicted Overd without evidence.
    , @anon

    Government censorship here in the UK is non-existent.
     
    Not true - there are laws against racial incitement which can and have been used to cover up immigrant crime.

    It is true that the driving force is the media not the government. The media prepare the ground and the laws follow.
    , @Perplexed
    Government censorship is nonexistent, eh? Ask Tommy Robinson, who has just been arresred again.
    , @Anonymous Nephew
    "Government censorship here in the UK is non-existent. Attempts at honest discourse in America on immigration and race make you a target for social tarring and feathering. "



    While there is little overt censorship, social tarring and feathering is pretty rife here - as witness the fate aka stitch-up of Nobel prize winner Professor Tim Hunt

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_Hunt#Controversy_over_lunchtime_toast_at_WCSJ_2015

    Or the apology British politician Oliver Letwin was forced to issue recently

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oliver_Letwin#1985_Broadwater_Farm_memo_controversy
    , @German_reader
    To add to other commenters, google "Liam Stacey".
  27. @Anonymous
    Perhaps DH Lawrence's most lasting achievement was to introduce the slang euphemism 'John Thomas' into the English language.
    Still embarrassing to those men who happened to be christened by that particular Welsh couplet.

    It must have been even worse for this poor guy.

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  28. The book is “The Silent Revolution and the Making of Victorian England” by Herbert Schlossberg.

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    • Replies: @Michael K
    As a amateur Victorianist that books looks interesting. Thanks!
  29. @grey enlightenment2
    This belief that people in Europe getting arrested for writing stuff is mostly superstition . Maybe it happens a handful of times, but it's not really a jail sentence more than a symbolic gesture. Richard Spencer describes being 'arrested' in Hungary and it amounted to little more than sitting in a processing room for a little while. It's a tradeoff : no first amendment but otherwise soft on crime and comfy EU-approved dorm room jail conditions vs. being very hard on crime (with mandatory sentences) as America is ,with worst prisons and longest sentences second to Iran, Somali, or N. Korea.

    This belief that people in Europe getting arrested for writing stuff is mostly superstition . Maybe it happens a handful of times, but it’s not really a jail sentence more than a symbolic gesture.

    Do you really consider this sentence a “symbolic gesture”?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simon_Sheppard_(activist)#Criminal_convictions_and_imprisonment

    On 10 July 2009, Sheppard was sentenced to 4 years and 10 months in prison, and his co-defendant, Whittle, was convicted of five similar offences.[23] These sentences for publishing material on the Internet were described as “groundbreaking” by Adil Khan, representing Humberside police, whilst Sheppard’s lawyer, Adrian Davies, said in his defence during the trial that he had come from a “very troubled background” and revealed that his mother had committed suicide, whilst noting that Sheppard was an intelligent man who had problems with authority, especially the police.[24] In January 2010, Sheppard and Whittle lost an appeal against their convictions, but succeeded in having their sentences reduced slightly.[25]

    Sheppard was arrested again on 25 January 2013 for breaching his licence conditions. The breach related to an article entitled “Spree Killers” from the Heritage and Destiny publication. Sheppard was returned to prison for a further three months.[3]

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    • Replies: @grey enlightenment2
    good point, but one also dig up plenty of egregious examples in America too, like serving many years for possession of firearms or drugs. pick your poison, I guess
  30. @snorlax
    I don't think it's not nearly so much that the first amendment is written down - it hasn't mattered much that the [framers' intended] powers of congress are written down - as it is that the left, to defend first communists and then later pornography, jihadist imams, etc, spent the 65 years between Truman and Bush 43 advocating the most extreme and absolutist reading possible, and declaring it to be the very most sacred and holy principle not only of constitutional jurisprudence but our entire secular religion.

    And of course they were completely successful on both fronts. But they ended up being so successful that they boxed themselves into a corner. Now they have to figure out how to undo decades of first-amendment-absolutist precedent of their own creation, without creating an opening for conservatives to ban communist/pornographic/jihadist/etc speech.

    And on top of that they have to sell their new policy on speech to an American public which has been utterly convinced of the principle that anyone who's against first amendment absolutism is an Evil Fascist Nazi.

    Hell, even I'm a first amendment absolutist even though I recognize that means, on some level, I've been played.

    A lot of it also is that it's the first amendment. If it had been the sixth or twelfth amendment I don't think people would take it nearly so seriously.

    The First Amendment was actually listed third in the Bill Of Rights as proposed by the First Congress.

    Don’t worry; supposed Constitutional scholar Rafael ‘Ted’ Cruz got the same thing wrong on stage at the Republican debate yesterday.

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  31. @grey enlightenment2
    This belief that people in Europe getting arrested for writing stuff is mostly superstition . Maybe it happens a handful of times, but it's not really a jail sentence more than a symbolic gesture. Richard Spencer describes being 'arrested' in Hungary and it amounted to little more than sitting in a processing room for a little while. It's a tradeoff : no first amendment but otherwise soft on crime and comfy EU-approved dorm room jail conditions vs. being very hard on crime (with mandatory sentences) as America is ,with worst prisons and longest sentences second to Iran, Somali, or N. Korea.

    @grey enlightenment 2:
    In Germany, you can be arrested for quite a time. This has been the case with Horst Mahler (11 years), Silvia Stolz (3 1/2 years), Ernst Zuendel (5 years), Guenter Deckert (5 years) as well as Axel Moeller (3 1/2 years).
    Normally, sentences begin with fines, then come suspended sentences and jail is only the last resort.
    Prominent figures are more apt to get longer jail time.
    Even if Holocaus denial or antisemitism are the most prominent offenses, sentences rely mostly on a mixture of different offenses, e.g. disparaging of the state (don’t know how this would be called in Anglo-American law). Editors or Internet administrators are often sentenced because of things other people said and they have transmitted.

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  32. @Mr. Anon
    Michael Kinsley is still alive? I remember once hearing that he had a serious illness, and I haven't heard anything about him for a long while, so I had assumed he was dead. I'm glad to hear that he is still with us and still active.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Kinsley#Personal

    In 2002 Kinsley publicly revealed that he had Parkinson’s disease.

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  33. @Anon
    Most striking is how Jewish-Americans have gone from liberty to censorship.

    And they have the most power in government, media, and academia.

    And their influence went to UK too.

    Most striking is how Jewish-Americans have gone from liberty to censorship.

    not very striking – in group out group strategy. 50+ years ago, when they were dismantling western christian culture and values, free speech was quite useful, now, with them in power it’s not so useful.

    I think UK MSM is more likely to openly criticize and discuss immigration and israel.

    As for “victorian’ values- probably a reaction to the decadance of the last georges – not to mention the gin craze and other societal corruption – as Peter Hitchens points out – Methodism saved the UK underclasses last time, next time, it might be Islam that even white brits turn to for structure, community, and discipline. Certainly doesn’t look like the CofE or any Christian group is willing to do that.

    Steve:
    Another ‘interesting’ aspect of the transition from decadence to Victorian values (which people here might belittle but – really are we a better society??) is racial – in India – prior to Victorian values – let’s just say a decade or so before the mutiny – british officers were intermarrying at a fairly high rate- afterwards, english women in particular put a stop to it.
    I wish there were english women like that now.

    Read More
    • Replies: @AndrewR
    Women outmarrying is far worse for a tribe than men outmarrying. Do you think Obama would be so anti-white if he had had a healthy masculine white father figure guiding him? His grandpa doesn't really count.
  34. @snorlax
    I don't think it's not nearly so much that the first amendment is written down - it hasn't mattered much that the [framers' intended] powers of congress are written down - as it is that the left, to defend first communists and then later pornography, jihadist imams, etc, spent the 65 years between Truman and Bush 43 advocating the most extreme and absolutist reading possible, and declaring it to be the very most sacred and holy principle not only of constitutional jurisprudence but our entire secular religion.

    And of course they were completely successful on both fronts. But they ended up being so successful that they boxed themselves into a corner. Now they have to figure out how to undo decades of first-amendment-absolutist precedent of their own creation, without creating an opening for conservatives to ban communist/pornographic/jihadist/etc speech.

    And on top of that they have to sell their new policy on speech to an American public which has been utterly convinced of the principle that anyone who's against first amendment absolutism is an Evil Fascist Nazi.

    Hell, even I'm a first amendment absolutist even though I recognize that means, on some level, I've been played.

    A lot of it also is that it's the first amendment. If it had been the sixth or twelfth amendment I don't think people would take it nearly so seriously.

    I couldn’t agree more. The U.S. left since the 1920s has used the 1st Amendment to get their radical ideas into the mainstream. Now they are faced with their own dragon…for now. I have full confidence in their ability to become unashamedly hypocritical when it suits them.

    As to the British issue of not having a written first Amendment, Britain never had free speech, even in unwritten format—- but this issue of writing down rights/laws is old as time, and shows why it is very important to write down and publicize laws .

    For example, in the Roman Republic, one of the HUGE issues between Patricians and Plebeians was the fact that only Patricians were allowed to be judges, but there were NO written laws. So many times, when a Pleb was in court against a Patrician, a Patrician would claim that some obscure unwritten law or edict that was never written down somehow made the Pleb lose, and the Patrician judge would whole-heartedly agree.

    It got Plebs furious, because there really was nothing a Pleb could do.

    So the Plebs, through much rioting and striking and such, finally got the Patricians to write down the laws. These laws would have to be publicized, by putting them in the Roman forum. They were put on tablets, numbered 12, and so became known as the famous Twelve Tables. So for the Plebs, it was a victory and an end to a lot of monkey-business; the Patricians couldn’t cite to an obscure unwritten law, but had to base any decision on the rights and edicts enshrined on the Twelve Tables.

    The Plebs (and the Patricians, through their opposition) recognized that merely the act of writing down a law and making it public and known and displayed was in itself more than symbolic, but excessively important in protecting the people from the government and keeping a Constitution intact.

    Eventually, however, not even the Twelve Tables could keep the rise of the emperors. The Twelve Tables were lost in the midsts of the Imperial reign, largely forgotten for centuries before that.

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    • Replies: @manton
    The tables (originally 10; Livy III 34) in fact did survive into the Imperial era. Livy (same chapter) complains that "Even in the mass of legislation today, where laws are piled one upon another in a confused heap, [the tables] still form the source of all public and private jurisprudence."

    Medieval law was basically Roman law plus canon law. "For the civil laws are nothing other than verdicts given by ancient jurists, which, reduced to order, teach our present jurists to judge" (Machiavelli, Discourses I preface 2).
  35. @snorlax
    I don't think it's not nearly so much that the first amendment is written down - it hasn't mattered much that the [framers' intended] powers of congress are written down - as it is that the left, to defend first communists and then later pornography, jihadist imams, etc, spent the 65 years between Truman and Bush 43 advocating the most extreme and absolutist reading possible, and declaring it to be the very most sacred and holy principle not only of constitutional jurisprudence but our entire secular religion.

    And of course they were completely successful on both fronts. But they ended up being so successful that they boxed themselves into a corner. Now they have to figure out how to undo decades of first-amendment-absolutist precedent of their own creation, without creating an opening for conservatives to ban communist/pornographic/jihadist/etc speech.

    And on top of that they have to sell their new policy on speech to an American public which has been utterly convinced of the principle that anyone who's against first amendment absolutism is an Evil Fascist Nazi.

    Hell, even I'm a first amendment absolutist even though I recognize that means, on some level, I've been played.

    A lot of it also is that it's the first amendment. If it had been the sixth or twelfth amendment I don't think people would take it nearly so seriously.

    I think as all the old lefties who believed in freedom of speech die off and are replaced by the SJWs, this might end. Remember, they control the universities and the media.

    Nobody had heard of gay marriage 30 years ago.

    And no, I’m not happy.

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    • Replies: @Maj. Kong
    It showed up in the 1972 Democrat convention, missing the following uber-leftist document by 20 votes. The Democrats of today are largely enacting the revenge of McGovern, only the Bruce Jenner mess is new. But then again, perhaps its been going on since Hatshepsut.

    http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=29605
  36. @Anon
    Most striking is how Jewish-Americans have gone from liberty to censorship.

    And they have the most power in government, media, and academia.

    And their influence went to UK too.

    Sure, compare Lenny Bruce and the Slate crowd.

    Dissent looks a lot different when you have power than when you don’t.

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    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar

    Sure, compare Lenny Bruce and the Slate crowd.

    Dissent looks a lot different when you have power than when you don’t.
     
    So does sodomy. Bruce pretended to be queer in order to get out of the Navy. (Interestingly, this was just after the war ended.)

    It wouldn't work today. They'd promote him instead!
  37. OT, but perhaps Steve can mine some meditation on achievement and attempts to achieve equality of outcome in academia out of this:

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/startswithabang/2016/01/15/what-all-the-harassment-stories-in-astronomy-really-mean/#2715e4857a0b4b3f08c32ccc

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    • Replies: @Mr. Anon
    "OT, but perhaps Steve can mine some meditation on achievement and attempts to achieve equality of outcome in academia out of this:

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/startswithabang/2016/01/15/what-all-the-harassment-stories-in-astronomy-really-mean/#2715e4857a0b4b3f08c32ccc"

    This is Tailhook for the sciences. Look for women to start exploiting this to gain entry to science faculties via sex-based set-asides, rather than merit. Jobs for the girls allround.

  38. There is a scene in the movie “Amazing Grace” where William Wilberforce is chopping wood to vent some anger. He yells while chopping about ending slavery and “reformation of manners”. It was the Evangelical/Low Church movement and rising Middle Class that Wilberforce was part of demanding better behavior especially by the elites. Victorianism was a bottom up movement. Remember after Farmer George III, his son the Regent and George IV was a glutton, probably fathered several bastard kids, and tried to divorce his wife, and William IV had 10 bastard kids. In a sense it was your typical younger generation revolting against what they saw as the excesses of the parents in this case.

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    • Replies: @John Derbyshire
    I chewed over UK-US differences here.

    "PC, which only reformed manners in the U.S.A., has revolutionized them in Britain....," etc.
  39. @Discordiax
    The book is "The Silent Revolution and the Making of Victorian England" by Herbert Schlossberg.

    As a amateur Victorianist that books looks interesting. Thanks!

    Read More
  40. But I don’t know much about the beginnings of Victorianism. My hunch is that it seemed like a good idea at the time. Idealistic and/or status-striving young people perhaps demanded it?

    The decorated faces and dials of English grandfather clocks of the 1840′s can easily be dated by the preponderance of religious themes. Apparently there was a huge religious revival at that time, that had a lot to do with the sexual puritanism of the Victorian age, an age in which every other woman in London was a prostitute and venereal diseases like syphilis were rife.

    The story goes that Welsh miners of the valleys were tribal savages until they were civilized by Methodism, and gave up drinking beer in favor of choir practice.

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  41. @snorlax
    I don't think it's not nearly so much that the first amendment is written down - it hasn't mattered much that the [framers' intended] powers of congress are written down - as it is that the left, to defend first communists and then later pornography, jihadist imams, etc, spent the 65 years between Truman and Bush 43 advocating the most extreme and absolutist reading possible, and declaring it to be the very most sacred and holy principle not only of constitutional jurisprudence but our entire secular religion.

    And of course they were completely successful on both fronts. But they ended up being so successful that they boxed themselves into a corner. Now they have to figure out how to undo decades of first-amendment-absolutist precedent of their own creation, without creating an opening for conservatives to ban communist/pornographic/jihadist/etc speech.

    And on top of that they have to sell their new policy on speech to an American public which has been utterly convinced of the principle that anyone who's against first amendment absolutism is an Evil Fascist Nazi.

    Hell, even I'm a first amendment absolutist even though I recognize that means, on some level, I've been played.

    A lot of it also is that it's the first amendment. If it had been the sixth or twelfth amendment I don't think people would take it nearly so seriously.

    “Now they have to figure out how to undo decades of first-amendment-absolutist precedent of their own creation…A lot of it also is that it’s the first amendment. If it had been the sixth or twelfth amendment I don’t think people would take it nearly so seriously.”

    Nicely summed up. Incidentally, conservatives seem to be much better at making dramatic U-turns in messaging and are not nearly so hampered by their past positions.

    At the risk of sounding smug, I think it’s because liberals have had a long winning streak of having their beliefs (anti-imperialism, anti-racism, women’s rights, gay rights etc.) turn into conventional wisdom, without ever needing to reverse themselves. Conservatives have had lots of practice in abandoning supposedly cherished principles to accommodate reality.

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    • Replies: @dfordoom

    Conservatives have had lots of practice in abandoning supposedly cherished principles to accommodate reality.
     
    Conservatives have had lots of practice at losing. They're now very good at it. Lead conservatives to a fight and no matter how favourable their position might be they'll still manage to lose.
    , @celt darnell
    Re: "At the risk of sounding smug, I think it’s because liberals have had a long winning streak of having their beliefs (anti-imperialism, anti-racism, women’s rights, gay rights etc.) turn into conventional wisdom, without ever needing to reverse themselves. Conservatives have had lots of practice in abandoning supposedly cherished principles to accommodate reality."

    That's pretty funny, because from where I'm sitting, Liberalism is pretty obviously surrendering to religious fundamentalism. I refer, to course, Islam.

    So, I wish the multiculturalists, feminists, homosexuals, militant atheists, anti-imperialists and, of course, Jews, the very best of luck when they have to, er, "accommodate reality."

    They're going to need it.

    As Margaret Thatcher said, the facts of life are conservative.
  42. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    “But I don’t know much about the beginnings of Victorianism. My hunch is that it seemed like a good idea at the time. Idealistic and/or status-striving young people perhaps demanded it?”

    Not at all. Victorian values started at the top of society, with the monarchy, specifically Queen Victoria, and trickled down from there. Victoria’s ascension to the throne in 1837 marked a sharp contrast from her philandering, libertine predecessors, the various King Georges, (I-IV, with George IV being the most scandalously indiscreet with his love affairs, which were covered in the British newspapers of the day). The new moral code that centered around the court of Victoria spread downwards, to the aristocrats, gentry, and rising middle-class, who then started “moral improvement campaigns” aimed at the lower orders.

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    • Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    Ironically by most accounts, it was George III who was the most faithful to his wife, with hardly a breath of scandal in that area, and had a stable fairly happy marriage. Why his children turned out as badly as they did is astounding. Of course, he was also the one who went mad towards the end of his life, but you can't have everything.

    But that is correct regarding Geo.'s I, II, and IV; they more or less tried to bugger everything that moved or breathed in feminine clothing, some more successful than others.

  43. @Anonymous
    I don't know, Steve.
    There has been a very long tradition of 'bawdiness' and 'earthiness' in English literature that dates from at least the time of Chaucer, and is to be found in Shakespeare, various 17th century and 18th century authors, the American, Ben Franklin, was no exception, and perhaps has its continuation with such luminaries as Benny Hill, Bernard Manning, Viz Comic etc.
    For one thing, Victorian times were an age of great hypocrisy in which 'respectable' gentlemen frequented prostitutes, secretly, on a massive scale. Just read the eye-watering statistics about the proportion of young women in London who were engaged in prostitution. Mrs Beeton, of cook book fame, was infected with syphilis by Mr Beeton, of which she died. That Victorian rogue 'Walter' recounts his innumerable escapades in his bragging volume 'My Secret Life'. In the 18th century, James Boswell, biographer of Samuel Johnson, is similarly forthright.
    I think that a lot of Victorian prudery was related to religion, just as 1950s Italian or Irish prudery was related to catholicism. In fact, although, Georgian bawdiness is celebrated, that also was 'officially' a prudish society, as writings by magistrates, legislators etc of that time attest.
    I think it was more of a case of 'dual morality', public and private.

    The prints of the famed artist Hogarth are very much morality tales.

    That Victorian rogue ‘Walter’ recounts his innumerable escapades in his bragging volume ‘My Secret Life’.

    By the standards of today, every sexual encounter ‘Walter’ ever had was a rape, except for the ones that he paid for.

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  44. @Rob McX
    What you can and cannot say is much the same in both America and Britain. You won't be prosecuted in the US for thought crime, but you might as well be considering the damage it may do you. You could lose your livelihood and never find satisfactory employment again. Many people would find that worse than prosecution. How much help was the First Amendment to James Watson?

    The mistake is to think conduct is dictated by laws or courts. It isn't. The media and entertainment industry have more power than judges and legislators.

    “You won’t be prosecuted in the US for thought crime, but you might as well be considering the damage it may do you.”

    Agree, mostly. The First Amendment, academic freedom, or, for that matter, corporate mission statements don’t really enter into the day-to-day business of how thought and speech are molded into patterns by our superiors, and how people who deviate from those patterns are punished. I don’t mean dissident firebrands getting publicly whacked, either. I’m talking about people who in good faith believe they’re doing their jobs as workers or citizens, then suddenly find themselves dropped from meetings, their offices relocated, phone calls not returned, etc.

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  45. Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution probably played a role in the reaction against Victorian sexual morality. It habituated people to the idea of accepting their animal natures, with the effect of secularizing their sexual feelings and experiences. Traditional religious views of humans sexuality simply lost credibility for people who understand the implications of evolution.

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    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar

    Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution probably played a role in the reaction against Victorian sexual morality.
     
    The Darwinists, particularly those pushing eugenics, could be just as prudish, and even more so, than the old guard.
  46. From Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan, 1661:

    And because all signes of hatred, or contempt, provoke to fight; insomuch as most men choose rather to hazard their life, than not to be revenged; we may in the eighth place, for a Law of Nature set down this Precept, “That no man by deed, word, countenance, or gesture, declare Hatred, or Contempt of another.” The breach of which Law, is commonly called Contumely.

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    • Replies: @Formerly CARealist
    Yes, that's true. Hatred leads to murder, as Jesus explains.

    Interestingly, I've learned some self-control from Steve Sailer. He never responds to criticism with contempt or sarcasm. He just calmly keeps making his points and tries to be intriguing. I guess this shows up in the handful of comments I've seen him make on MR or the NYT.
  47. @snorlax
    I don't think it's not nearly so much that the first amendment is written down - it hasn't mattered much that the [framers' intended] powers of congress are written down - as it is that the left, to defend first communists and then later pornography, jihadist imams, etc, spent the 65 years between Truman and Bush 43 advocating the most extreme and absolutist reading possible, and declaring it to be the very most sacred and holy principle not only of constitutional jurisprudence but our entire secular religion.

    And of course they were completely successful on both fronts. But they ended up being so successful that they boxed themselves into a corner. Now they have to figure out how to undo decades of first-amendment-absolutist precedent of their own creation, without creating an opening for conservatives to ban communist/pornographic/jihadist/etc speech.

    And on top of that they have to sell their new policy on speech to an American public which has been utterly convinced of the principle that anyone who's against first amendment absolutism is an Evil Fascist Nazi.

    Hell, even I'm a first amendment absolutist even though I recognize that means, on some level, I've been played.

    A lot of it also is that it's the first amendment. If it had been the sixth or twelfth amendment I don't think people would take it nearly so seriously.

    “A lot of it also is that it’s the first amendment. If it had been the sixth or twelfth amendment I don’t think people would take it nearly so seriously.”

    Yes, I think you’re correct. And by the same token, I do not think it is mere coincidence that this, the most vital of Constitutional Amendments, wound up being the first.

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  48. @snorlax
    I don't think it's not nearly so much that the first amendment is written down - it hasn't mattered much that the [framers' intended] powers of congress are written down - as it is that the left, to defend first communists and then later pornography, jihadist imams, etc, spent the 65 years between Truman and Bush 43 advocating the most extreme and absolutist reading possible, and declaring it to be the very most sacred and holy principle not only of constitutional jurisprudence but our entire secular religion.

    And of course they were completely successful on both fronts. But they ended up being so successful that they boxed themselves into a corner. Now they have to figure out how to undo decades of first-amendment-absolutist precedent of their own creation, without creating an opening for conservatives to ban communist/pornographic/jihadist/etc speech.

    And on top of that they have to sell their new policy on speech to an American public which has been utterly convinced of the principle that anyone who's against first amendment absolutism is an Evil Fascist Nazi.

    Hell, even I'm a first amendment absolutist even though I recognize that means, on some level, I've been played.

    A lot of it also is that it's the first amendment. If it had been the sixth or twelfth amendment I don't think people would take it nearly so seriously.

    I think freedom of speech has benefitted a lot from the media (especially newspapers) being powerful. for both practical and cultural reasons, U.S. newspapers tend to support free speech, so for many years, there was a bipartisan set of powers in the U.S. who were very strongly in favor of very broad free speech rights.

    The people who supported pornography or communism or anarchism or naziism or blasphemy were always a very small fraction of the support for free speech–mostly it was people who didn’t want the state deciding who’d be allowed to say what.

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    • Replies: @snorlax
    Newspapers are much bigger in Britain than they are in the US.

    A big difference is that most UK newspapers are right-of-center (and, even if not literal tabloids, very tabloid-ish by US standards). US newspapers are almost uniformly very left-wing (except for the Wall Street Journal, which might as well be) and marketed as "prestige" publications, read by influential people.

    So from a leftist's perspective, US newspapers quite literally "speak truth to power," while UK newspapers speak nonsense to nobodies.

    And thus a proportionately much smaller industry is able to exert much greater influence.

  49. @joeyjoejoe
    I (quickly) read the article, and was amused to find this little bon mot.

    "It will not help you if someone is offended by some theory you spin after two or three glasses of wine at a dinner party, or if students decide to picket your lectures because they object to what you say about dinosaurs."

    Absurdly, Kinsley implies that the current threat to free expression on campus is from picketing fundamentalists who disagree with biology professors on the origin of the species.

    Is he a complete idiot? Or is he willfully censoring his own thoughts to avoid the pc police-the very subject of the article in which the sentence occurs?

    Even a guy who's not in academia is afraid to speak his mind* about academia. An absurd situation.

    joeyjoejoe

    *I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt, and assuming that Kinsley is not in fact a complete idiot.

    Perhaps he thinks his audience is more likely to worry about the risk of creationists shutting down a biology they don’t like by protests than the risk of feminists shutting down a psychology class they don’t like.

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  50. @Simon in London
    Good point. First they took our guns (starting with the fear of Anarchist terrorists post-WW1 - Churchill was partly to blame as I recall), then they took our voices. We never had US style free speech - always had draconian Libel laws - but until the 1990s there was a presumption of liberty. With New Labour enthroning Political Correctness as the State religion in 1997, this ceased and people stopped saying "It's a free country, isn't it?" - it plainly no longer is.

    This lecture is the best history of the right to bear arms in Britain, the philosophies behind that right, and the gradual loss of that right that I’ve encountered. Lots of citations.

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  51. @Anonymous
    A good reference point of the British bawdy and earthy humor are the famed 'naughty' 'seaside postcards', particularly those of Donald McGill. I don't know if they are known in the States.
    George Orwell wrote a whole essay rhapsodising about them.

    A good reference point of the British bawdy and earthy humor are the famed ‘naughty’ ‘seaside postcards’, particularly those of Donald McGill. I don’t know if they are known in the States.

    Yes, they seem to have been strongly associated with the 30′s and World War II, but were still on sale in the 60′s in newsagents everywhere, so must have been pretty popular.

    This kind of humor came from the music hall comic tradition.

    In the same vein were the bawdy innuendo songs of George Formby, once one of the biggest movie stars in the world, like When I’m Cleaning Windows and My Little Stick of Blackpool Rock (for the innocent–what does Rock rhyme with?) Formby was an early influence on the Beatles, (Lovely Rita, Meter Maid is very Formbyesque) and George Harrison owned more than one of Formby’s ukeleles purchased from his estate after his death in 1962.

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    • Replies: @Clyde
    Van Morison had a cleaning windows song.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LehhSmFhsgo

    Looks like Georgie Fame there on piano who is 72 and holding in contrast to Bowie and the magnificent Rickman.
    , @John Derbyshire
    "Excuse me, young lady, do you like Kipling?"
    "Oooh, I don't know, you naughty boy! I've never kippled."
    , @Reg Cæsar

    [George] Formby was an early influence on the Beatles, (Lovely Rita, Meter Maid is very Formbyesque) and George Harrison owned more than one of Formby’s ukeleles purchased from his estate after his death in 1962.
     
    A Yank counterpart to this story is when Bob Dylan invited Tiny Tim up to Woodstock (not the festival, but the village that refused it) for a weekend at his house there. Tim enchanted his host with a Rudy Vallee-style version of "Like a Rolling Stone", followed by a Dylanesque take on one of Vallee's classics.
  52. @Rob McX
    "You can't say that" - funnily enough, that's the title of Ken Livingstone's memoirs. It's meant to be ironic, supposedly indicating his penchant for uttering truths people didn't want to hear. He was in fact one of the people most responsible for imposing PC on Britain.

    Probably from the old music hall song, You Can’t Do That There ‘Ere.

    John Lennon also had a song called You Can’t Do That as the B side of a Beatles single.

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  53. I think part of the problem in discussing “Victorianism” this way is that the discussion of taboos is too broad.

    #1 – One element is clearly sexual morality. That ebbs and flows for various reasons and to my mind it clearly has something to do with how women are treated. I can recall a number of women relatives who remembered the tail end of the “Victorian Era” (which I think was dismantled more by WW1 than anything else.) For the poster who said that this sort of thing waxes and wanes, I agree. You go from periods where sexuality is oppressive and hypocritical, to periods where it is libertine and decadent, and then back again. Of course either position has its excesses and that fuels the opposite.

    #2 – Another element has to do with shibboleths of equality, and in particular, racial equality. But this is no longer equality in the MLK “I have a dream” sense. That totem, which was earlier expressed in terms of NT Christianity (see Harriett Beecher Stowe) is a basic belief of modern secularism, even though it is completely deracinated from its religious roots. But it is enforced with the same amount of absolutism.

    Yet the argument is not really about equality in terms of the a priori absolute concept (although you can still get in trouble for that.) It is really about the pesky inequality of results, and no one can really do anything about that. If everyone is equal fundamentally, but there is clear inequality in results, and, moreover, on racial and gender grounds, then it must follow that there’s something wrong that needs to be fixed. At least we are no longer talking about overturning the “means of production”, instead, it’s all about the phlogiston of sexism and racism.

    #3 – Still another aspect has to do with political values. Any nationalism in Europe is squashed, because of the first half of the 20th Century. Really, that has more to do with German speech limits than anything else. But, yes, it also has to do with what political posture we are supposed to be supporting with regard to Israel, and the Million Muslim March.

    I am a free speech absolutist, and if you don’t like a speech,rebut it, or ignore it. But the fact is the social order at any time is only tolerant of free speech if that free speech is marginal and doesn’t threaten the preferred agendas of the elites. I doubt if it has ever been otherwise.

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  54. Long before the mid-19th century, we had “Bowdlerized” versions of Shakespeare. “From Thomas Bowdler, who in 1818 published a censored version of Shakespeare, expurgating “those words and expressions… which cannot with propriety be read aloud in a family.” “

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    • Replies: @oh its just me
    bowdlerizing is alive and well - many children's books have been "modernized' by editing out what is now considered 'racist' -try finding the original doctor dolittle, mary poppins, or or a host of others in print today.

    Also cartoons- i am old enough to remember when bugs bunny cartoons still showed the gag when say, a stick of dynamite exploded in elmer fudd's face, he looked like a 'darkie'

    Movies like breakfast at tiffany's will probably be edited for 'sensitivity' in the near future...
  55. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    Notice the way the German – and hence EU – political class is currently bullying and threatening Poland over various changes the Polish government has made to state broadcasters etc – which are, in fact, totally within the remit of a sovereign, independent democratically elected government – whilst the German government is now totally shamelessly censoring the internet speech freedom of German citizens.

    As I’ve said before, Orwell is the prophet of the age.

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  56. The 18th century was a response to the 17th century, which was puritanical in the most extreme sense, almost comically so at times:

    http://www.amazon.com/The-Origins-Sex-History-Revolution/dp/0241955963

    Come the 19th, it was becoming clear that giving that much licence was simply allowing men to prey on women and children (and often other men), and there seems to have been a concentrated effort, starting with the public schools, to clean things up.

    http://www.amazon.com/High-Minds-Victorians-Modern-Britain/dp/1847946771

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  57. @Clyde

    A movie adaptation of Tom Jones won the 1963 Best Picture Oscar as symbolic of the revolt against Victorian restrictions. You don’t hear much about that movie anymore, but it was a big deal at the time.
     
    Starring Albert Finney
    Susannah York
    Hugh Griffith
    Edith Evans
    Diane Cilento
    Joyce Redman

    ****** 1963 also being prior to the pill and no fault divorce pioneered by NY state I believe.

    One of my all time favorite movies. First saw it in a first run movie theater when I was in college, before I had read the book, and loved it from the start. Great directing, great acting and great screenplay (by John Osborne, a leading English playwright at the time: “Look Back in Anger,” “The Entertainer”), not to mention a great book (reading which after seeing the movie made me appreciate even more the effort of Osborne, the screenwriter, in compressing that sprawling novel to roughly a 2-hour film).

    BTW to show how much tastes can change in a relatively short time, about 10 years later I was dating a young woman about 10 years younger than I. When she asked me what my favorite movies were, I answered “Tom Jones.” I later discovered that she thought I was referring to the popular (then) Welsh singer Tom Jones (who has been forgotten by most people today).

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    • Replies: @Clyde
    I am unable to give you an equally intelligent reply, so as far as movies go see "The Revenant" and I despise Leonardo De Caprio. Thomas Hardy is a scene stealer! You will not believe the primitive grunted English that comes from his mouth.
    , @Anonymous
    Interesting that John Osborne's name comes up in thread concerning censorship and the British literary tradition.

    In 1968, the then British Labour government of Harold Wilson, decided at a stroke, to abolish all theatrical censorship - a tradition that stretched back hundreds of years and involved an arcane outfit called 'The Lord Chamberlain's Office', in order to show its 'good solid progressive ie left wing credentials'. Note how these days parties of the left wish to re-introduce censorship, particularly of pornography, since these days the 'feminist' wing of leftist parties has the upper hand, and all appeals to 'progressive artistic freedom' have largely vanished.

    Anyhow, one Kenneth Tynan, dramatist and critic, and incidentally the man who deliberately distinguished himself by slipping in the word 'fuck' live on British television (pre Sex Pistols), decided to capitalize on the abolition of theatrical censorship by mischievously producing, rather bizzarely to modern sensibilities, the first total 'nude revue', Oh! Calcutta! ie a theatrical production of some rather lame sketches, songs, jokes etc with the USP that the actors were totally naked. As I recall luminaries of the day such as John Lennon contributed sketches.
    To modern tastes, a reading of the show seems rather dated and trite.

    Nevertheless, the show, in the West End stage was a massive mega hit - mainly due to its appeal to the rain coater crowd rather than its intrinsic merits.
    Naturally, the success of Oh! Calcutta! prompted imitator after imitator 'nude reviews' each one being even less distinguished and staler than the last one, the whole 'shocking' concept had just degenerated into rather seedy dirty-old-man pleasing formulaic absurdity.
    John Osborne was commissioned by a British paper to write, in all seriousness, a critical review of the latest flaccid offering. His review, the entirety of it, was typically pithy, cruelly honest and short, sharp and straight to the point.

    'Oh no!', he wrote, 'not another row of limp dicks!'

  58. “Perhaps he thinks his audience is more likely to worry about the risk of creationists shutting down a biology they don’t like by protests than the risk of feminists shutting down a psychology class they don’t like.”

    Or BLM getting administrators, professors, and presidents fired at Yale, Missouri, and Clairmont (McKenna?) College. Or feminists getting a (president? chairman? whatever Summers was) fired at Harvard. Or professors asking for a ‘little muscle’ to expel the press from a public gathering at Missouri.

    He, and his readers, may be worried about a particular thing. But if they aren’t worried about the particular things that are actually happening, then they are, as I said: either afraid to state what’s really going on, or idiots.

    joeyjoejoe

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    • Replies: @vinteuil
    "if they aren’t worried about the particular things that are actually happening, then they are, as I said: either afraid to state what’s really going on, or idiots."

    Yes. This. Exactly. Precisely so.

    I'm getting really sick of this thing where semi-lefties complain about the suppression of free speech by ultra-lefties - but, when asked for examples of what they're complaining about, can think of nothing but those awful Christian fundamentalists, who, as everyone knows, have prevented us all from finding out about evolutionary theory.

    Damn Kinsley for a coward.
  59. “You go from periods where sexuality is oppressive and hypocritical, to periods where it is libertine and decadent…”

    This dichotomy amuses me. First, we have the reliably progressive notion that any sort of sexual reticence is mere “hypocrisy,” juxtaposed with the notion that any lack of sexual reticence is “libertine and decadent.” Humanity just can’t win, under such a model, LOL.

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  60. @Mr. Anon
    Michael Kinsley is still alive? I remember once hearing that he had a serious illness, and I haven't heard anything about him for a long while, so I had assumed he was dead. I'm glad to hear that he is still with us and still active.

    Kinsley is one of the more fair minded and intelligent liberals. He is also famous for saying “A gaffe is when a politician tells the truth – some obvious truth he isn’t supposed to say.”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_gaffe#Kinsley_gaffe

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    • Replies: @Mr. Anon
    Yes, I always thought that Kinsley was quite reasonable and fair-minded. He was the founding editor of Slate in 1996, and it was pretty good back then. It went downhill after his departure. Now it is just another outlet for point-and-sputter journalism.
  61. That process by which this slowly reversed in the 20th Century is well-known,

    There wasn’t a single pendulum swing in the 20th century, but a couple. During the Roaring 20′s and continuing until the early 30s, there were some somewhat risque films made in Hollywood containing nudity, etc. (though these were mild by modern standards) – this prompted the “Hays Code” which basically made all Hollywood studio films G rated from the mid-30s until the early ’60s. Actually the Hays Code also forbade some strange things having nothing to do with sex – for example, “picturizing in an unfavorable light another country’s religion, history, institutions, prominent people, and citizenry”. For a while, this prevented the making of any films critical of the Nazis. Starting in the ’60s the pendulum swung the other way.

    Some of the other commenters made apt observations – all of American (indeed world) history consists of pendulum swings between more and less (public) prudery. In terms of what went on behind closed doors, that is more constant (once humanity stops having sex there will be no more humanity, therefore sex has existed everywhere and at all times) but in some eras it was more possible to discuss or display sexuality or nudity openly than in others.

    Right around the time of the Revolution, France was an American ally and a number of the Founding Fathers lived in France on diplomatic missions, so there was a certain fashion for French things. In France at that time (in a tradition that continues until today – see Straus-Kahn) certain members of the upper classes considered themselves to be “libertines” – they did not consider themselves to be bound by the teachings of the Church or bourgeois morality or the prospect of punishment in the afterlife, so that they lived by sort of a hippie motto – “if it feels good, do it”. This rubbed off on certain Americans such as Aaron Burr.

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    • Replies: @yaqub the mad scientist
    In France at that time (in a tradition that continues until today – see Straus-Kahn) certain members of the upper classes considered themselves to be “libertines” – they did not consider themselves to be bound by the teachings of the Church or bourgeois morality or the prospect of punishment in the afterlife, so that they lived by sort of a hippie motto – “if it feels good, do it”

    During the Thermadoran Reaction, these swains were known as the "guilded youth" or "muscadins" during the early phases, and later as the "Incroyables" when the movement became more upper class and outrageous. The two links are just fascinating, especially the part about the balls held for the offspring of those who had been guillotined. The ideological and class nuances of French society are always interesting to read about.
  62. @joeyjoejoe
    I (quickly) read the article, and was amused to find this little bon mot.

    "It will not help you if someone is offended by some theory you spin after two or three glasses of wine at a dinner party, or if students decide to picket your lectures because they object to what you say about dinosaurs."

    Absurdly, Kinsley implies that the current threat to free expression on campus is from picketing fundamentalists who disagree with biology professors on the origin of the species.

    Is he a complete idiot? Or is he willfully censoring his own thoughts to avoid the pc police-the very subject of the article in which the sentence occurs?

    Even a guy who's not in academia is afraid to speak his mind* about academia. An absurd situation.

    joeyjoejoe

    *I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt, and assuming that Kinsley is not in fact a complete idiot.

    Good catch that shows what a liar Kinsley is. Has there ever been even one student demonstration against the teaching of evolution? Compare that to the hundreds of incidents where professors are picketed or forced to resign, lectures are disrupted, speakers are disinvited, etc. because they violate some leftist trope (for example suggesting that you have a free speech right to wear Halloween costumes that might micro-offend someone else). But Kinsley picks for his example a supposed Christian hot button. Either he is being deeply insincere or else is engaging in projection (a common leftist fault).

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    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar

    Has there ever been even one student demonstration against the teaching of evolution?
     
    Not evolution per se, but how it's taught and what it implies. Profs Jensen and Rushton could have told you stories...
  63. @Ali Choudhury
    I am guessing Victorianism was rooted in the growth of the British empire. If you are going to be the administrators of most of the globe, your upper middle-class needs to be sober and hard-working. Attitudes filtered down from there and to some extent up to the aristocracy, encouraged by Victoria and her husband Albert. Victorianism faded as the empire did.

    This emphasis on the First Amendment is overrated. Government censorship here in the UK is non-existent. Attempts at honest discourse in America on immigration and race make you a target for social tarring and feathering. It is what you can freely discuss in open society without angry mobs barracking you fhat really counts. All the nonsense on safe spaces and white privilege which is all the rage in American colleges have made little impact here despite the efforts of local third rate academics.

    I agree that a legally entrenched freedom of speech, valuable though it is, is insufficient when public opinion is hostile to open discussion. Conversely, official censorship without public support can become a joke or a rallying point. George Bernard Shaw had great fun at the expense of the Lord Chamberlain’s office, whose approval was required before a play could be staged. In our own day, Jean Raspail has brought out a reprint of Le Camp des saints with a new index of passages that violate the various antidefamation laws that have been enacted since 1973. The French laws are not retroactive.

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  64. @Jack D

    That process by which this slowly reversed in the 20th Century is well-known,
     
    There wasn't a single pendulum swing in the 20th century, but a couple. During the Roaring 20's and continuing until the early 30s, there were some somewhat risque films made in Hollywood containing nudity, etc. (though these were mild by modern standards) - this prompted the "Hays Code" which basically made all Hollywood studio films G rated from the mid-30s until the early '60s. Actually the Hays Code also forbade some strange things having nothing to do with sex - for example, "picturizing in an unfavorable light another country's religion, history, institutions, prominent people, and citizenry". For a while, this prevented the making of any films critical of the Nazis. Starting in the '60s the pendulum swung the other way.

    Some of the other commenters made apt observations - all of American (indeed world) history consists of pendulum swings between more and less (public) prudery. In terms of what went on behind closed doors, that is more constant (once humanity stops having sex there will be no more humanity, therefore sex has existed everywhere and at all times) but in some eras it was more possible to discuss or display sexuality or nudity openly than in others.

    Right around the time of the Revolution, France was an American ally and a number of the Founding Fathers lived in France on diplomatic missions, so there was a certain fashion for French things. In France at that time (in a tradition that continues until today - see Straus-Kahn) certain members of the upper classes considered themselves to be "libertines" - they did not consider themselves to be bound by the teachings of the Church or bourgeois morality or the prospect of punishment in the afterlife, so that they lived by sort of a hippie motto - "if it feels good, do it". This rubbed off on certain Americans such as Aaron Burr.

    In France at that time (in a tradition that continues until today – see Straus-Kahn) certain members of the upper classes considered themselves to be “libertines” – they did not consider themselves to be bound by the teachings of the Church or bourgeois morality or the prospect of punishment in the afterlife, so that they lived by sort of a hippie motto – “if it feels good, do it”

    During the Thermadoran Reaction, these swains were known as the “guilded youth” or “muscadins” during the early phases, and later as the “Incroyables” when the movement became more upper class and outrageous. The two links are just fascinating, especially the part about the balls held for the offspring of those who had been guillotined. The ideological and class nuances of French society are always interesting to read about.

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  65. Some might say that, if the right of free speech needs to be set down in writing, it’s already too late. Once most people don’t believe in free speech, and we need to rely on a judicial elite to protect it from popular attacks, it’s only a matter of time until that right is abolished completely.

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  66. @tbraton
    Long before the mid-19th century, we had "Bowdlerized" versions of Shakespeare. "From Thomas Bowdler, who in 1818 published a censored version of Shakespeare, expurgating "those words and expressions... which cannot with propriety be read aloud in a family." "

    bowdlerizing is alive and well – many children’s books have been “modernized’ by editing out what is now considered ‘racist’ -try finding the original doctor dolittle, mary poppins, or or a host of others in print today.

    Also cartoons- i am old enough to remember when bugs bunny cartoons still showed the gag when say, a stick of dynamite exploded in elmer fudd’s face, he looked like a ‘darkie’

    Movies like breakfast at tiffany’s will probably be edited for ‘sensitivity’ in the near future…

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    • Replies: @tbraton
    "Movies like breakfast at tiffany’s will probably be edited for ‘sensitivity’ in the near future…"

    My God! The original movie was already a "bowdlerized" version of the book. I saw the movie first when I was relatively young and later the book when I was much older. I was astounded by how "dark" the book was compared to the light-hearted movie. If they edit the movie any more, you'll wind up with cotton candy. I am astounded by how juvenile our tastes have become.
    , @dfordoom

    bowdlerizing is alive and well – many children’s books have been “modernized’ by editing out what is now considered ‘racist’
     
    Not just children’s books. It's happening with 19th and early 20th century genre fiction as well. At the moment the Thought Police aren't quite confident enough to censor the "classics" but that will be next.

    And a lot of books from the past are just going to disappear. I expect that within a few years if you try to buy an edition of Shakespeare's complete works you'll discover the The Merchant of Venice has mysteriously vanished. It never existed. There was no such play.
  67. The Weimar Constitution (1919-33) had oodles of written rights-more than the American.

    And then it didn’t.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weimar_Constitution

    I would have thought Kinsley would have remembered that.

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    • Replies: @fnn
    Weimar also had hate speech laws:

    As Alan Borovoy, Canada’s leading civil libertarian, put it: “Remarkably, pre-Hitler Germany had laws very much like the Canadian anti-hate law. Moreover, those laws were enforced with some vigour. During the 15 years before Hitler came to power, there were more than 200 prosecutions based on anti-Semitic speech. And, in the opinion of the leading Jewish organization of that era, no more than 10 per cent of the cases were mishandled by the authorities. As subsequent history so painfully testifies, this type of legislation proved ineffectual on the one occasion when there was a real argument for it.” Inevitably, the Nazi party exploited the restrictions on “free speech” in order to boost its appeal. In 1925, the state of Bavaria issued an order banning Adolf Hitler from making any public speeches. The Nazis responded by distributing a drawing of their leader with his mouth gagged and the caption, “Of 2,000 million people in the world, one alone is forbidden to speak in Germany.”
     
    Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/303374/reasonable-restrictions-road-tyranny-mark-steyn
    , @Jack D
    Written constitutions full of wonderful sounding rights are a dime a dozen. The Soviet Constitution and the Chinese Constitution are full of them, not to mention just about every other chicken sh-t dictatorship. Written constitutions are so great that many of these countries adopt new ones every few years - China is on its 12th constitution since 1911, including four (plus revisions) under the Communists. And the unwritten British constitution is worth 100x more than any of them. It is much better to have rule of law without a constitution than to have a constitution without rule of law.
  68. Steve, I get the sense from English history and literature that morals were very cyclical for many centuries. They’d go through periods of extreme laxity followed by extreme puritanism (and once, literally, Puritanism) and then back and forth. The Victorian Era appears to be a stage in that cycle, and a reaction to the excesses of the Regency, when morals were very loose. And you left out Cleland’s Fanny Hill (1748), the world’s first porn novel. It was banned. And Tom Jones was quite controversial at the time. Samuel Johnson denounced it.

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    • Replies: @dfordoom

    I get the sense from English history and literature that morals were very cyclical for many centuries.
     
    Probably true, but sexual libertinism and freedom of speech don't go together. They're entirely separate issues. And as Huxley predicted, the likelihood is that the more sexual freedom you have the less political freedom you have. Unlimited pornography, and zero freedom of speech.

    I'm not sure how this played out in the past. The Victorians may have been reticent about sex but did they have more freedom of speech than in the debauched Regency period, or less? I'm guessing they had more, due to the rise of the popular press.
  69. @whorefinder
    I couldn't agree more. The U.S. left since the 1920s has used the 1st Amendment to get their radical ideas into the mainstream. Now they are faced with their own dragon...for now. I have full confidence in their ability to become unashamedly hypocritical when it suits them.

    As to the British issue of not having a written first Amendment, Britain never had free speech, even in unwritten format---- but this issue of writing down rights/laws is old as time, and shows why it is very important to write down and publicize laws .

    For example, in the Roman Republic, one of the HUGE issues between Patricians and Plebeians was the fact that only Patricians were allowed to be judges, but there were NO written laws. So many times, when a Pleb was in court against a Patrician, a Patrician would claim that some obscure unwritten law or edict that was never written down somehow made the Pleb lose, and the Patrician judge would whole-heartedly agree.

    It got Plebs furious, because there really was nothing a Pleb could do.

    So the Plebs, through much rioting and striking and such, finally got the Patricians to write down the laws. These laws would have to be publicized, by putting them in the Roman forum. They were put on tablets, numbered 12, and so became known as the famous Twelve Tables. So for the Plebs, it was a victory and an end to a lot of monkey-business; the Patricians couldn't cite to an obscure unwritten law, but had to base any decision on the rights and edicts enshrined on the Twelve Tables.

    The Plebs (and the Patricians, through their opposition) recognized that merely the act of writing down a law and making it public and known and displayed was in itself more than symbolic, but excessively important in protecting the people from the government and keeping a Constitution intact.

    Eventually, however, not even the Twelve Tables could keep the rise of the emperors. The Twelve Tables were lost in the midsts of the Imperial reign, largely forgotten for centuries before that.

    The tables (originally 10; Livy III 34) in fact did survive into the Imperial era. Livy (same chapter) complains that “Even in the mass of legislation today, where laws are piled one upon another in a confused heap, [the tables] still form the source of all public and private jurisprudence.”

    Medieval law was basically Roman law plus canon law. “For the civil laws are nothing other than verdicts given by ancient jurists, which, reduced to order, teach our present jurists to judge” (Machiavelli, Discourses I preface 2).

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    • Replies: @whorefinder

    The tables (originally 10; Livy III 34) in fact did survive into the Imperial era.
     


    True. but they did disappear in that era. At some point they stopped being referenced at all, and the original tablets disappeared---and weren't even noticed to be gone.

    Medieval law was basically Roman law plus canon law.
     
    In certain areas old Roman law---basically the local edicts---survived. Then the new invaders piled their own law on top of it. And then whoever conquered thereafter piled their laws on top of that. Without ever removing the older laws. And then church law, as you mentioned. It was a confusing morass; for example, Salic Law versus Roman Law versus Church Law was a huge thorny legal mess for French scholars over the centuries.

    One of the many reasons that Napoleon has such a complicated legacy---as opposed to say another game changer named Hitler----is that his Napoleonic Code was so dang beloved by everyone he conquered. He basically conquered a people, swept all their confusing, contradictory laws away, set up a very clear legal code to replace it, and walked away. And the people found that a very clear, very orderly legal code, where every law was spelled out, and there was no harkening to tradition or common law or previous interpretations--well, this was much beloved. Today most European nation-states have some form of the Napoleonic Code in force.

    England never got conquered by Napoloeon, and so kept its confusing, contradictory hodgepodge of laws and rationalizations. Not that it would have helped the US much if England had been conquered by Nap, since we'd already broken free of England before Nap came along.
  70. @anony-mouse
    The Weimar Constitution (1919-33) had oodles of written rights-more than the American.

    And then it didn't.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weimar_Constitution

    I would have thought Kinsley would have remembered that.

    Weimar also had hate speech laws:

    As Alan Borovoy, Canada’s leading civil libertarian, put it: “Remarkably, pre-Hitler Germany had laws very much like the Canadian anti-hate law. Moreover, those laws were enforced with some vigour. During the 15 years before Hitler came to power, there were more than 200 prosecutions based on anti-Semitic speech. And, in the opinion of the leading Jewish organization of that era, no more than 10 per cent of the cases were mishandled by the authorities. As subsequent history so painfully testifies, this type of legislation proved ineffectual on the one occasion when there was a real argument for it.” Inevitably, the Nazi party exploited the restrictions on “free speech” in order to boost its appeal. In 1925, the state of Bavaria issued an order banning Adolf Hitler from making any public speeches. The Nazis responded by distributing a drawing of their leader with his mouth gagged and the caption, “Of 2,000 million people in the world, one alone is forbidden to speak in Germany.”

    Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/303374/reasonable-restrictions-road-tyranny-mark-steyn

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  71. @snorlax
    I don't think it's not nearly so much that the first amendment is written down - it hasn't mattered much that the [framers' intended] powers of congress are written down - as it is that the left, to defend first communists and then later pornography, jihadist imams, etc, spent the 65 years between Truman and Bush 43 advocating the most extreme and absolutist reading possible, and declaring it to be the very most sacred and holy principle not only of constitutional jurisprudence but our entire secular religion.

    And of course they were completely successful on both fronts. But they ended up being so successful that they boxed themselves into a corner. Now they have to figure out how to undo decades of first-amendment-absolutist precedent of their own creation, without creating an opening for conservatives to ban communist/pornographic/jihadist/etc speech.

    And on top of that they have to sell their new policy on speech to an American public which has been utterly convinced of the principle that anyone who's against first amendment absolutism is an Evil Fascist Nazi.

    Hell, even I'm a first amendment absolutist even though I recognize that means, on some level, I've been played.

    A lot of it also is that it's the first amendment. If it had been the sixth or twelfth amendment I don't think people would take it nearly so seriously.

    fortunately for them they own the courts press entertainment education from head start to post grad new media old media etc etc etc etc

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  72. As others have mentioned, the Victorians had a lot of sex. The British population exploded in the early 19th century, and this was a cause of great concern for the country’s ruling class (see Malthus.)

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  73. @Rob McX
    From Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan, 1661:

    And because all signes of hatred, or contempt, provoke to fight; insomuch as most men choose rather to hazard their life, than not to be revenged; we may in the eighth place, for a Law of Nature set down this Precept, "That no man by deed, word, countenance, or gesture, declare Hatred, or Contempt of another." The breach of which Law, is commonly called Contumely.

    Yes, that’s true. Hatred leads to murder, as Jesus explains.

    Interestingly, I’ve learned some self-control from Steve Sailer. He never responds to criticism with contempt or sarcasm. He just calmly keeps making his points and tries to be intriguing. I guess this shows up in the handful of comments I’ve seen him make on MR or the NYT.

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    • Replies: @Rob McX
    I thought this "Law of Nature" that Hobbes proposes was curious because it could be seen as giving justification for hate speech laws, even though this was hardly intended by him. I'd say it could have influenced the reform of defamation law in the 19th century, the purpose of which was to provide an alternative to duelling.
  74. Why steer this discussion into Victorianism? Boooooring. The more salient issue is the British fear of one Donald Trump. He’s got them soiling their pants, and they want to burn the witch. The fact that a country that calls itself a civilized democracy wants to summarily ban someone because he has frank and candid opinions on Islamic terror speaks volumes about who these people are exactly. They’re fascists, who have about as much dedication to free speech as the runt in North Korea. The Brits throw people who Tweet nasty things into prison, while simultaneously allowing Islamo-scum like Richard Reid and the hate preachers who radicalized him to flourish unchecked. They really are our No. 1 problem in the world. I say Trump should expand his proposed immigration ban — to all of Britain. Ironic, yes, since his dear old mum is from there. But in a way, that would make it even more hurtful to these wankers.

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  75. @anony-mouse
    The Weimar Constitution (1919-33) had oodles of written rights-more than the American.

    And then it didn't.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weimar_Constitution

    I would have thought Kinsley would have remembered that.

    Written constitutions full of wonderful sounding rights are a dime a dozen. The Soviet Constitution and the Chinese Constitution are full of them, not to mention just about every other chicken sh-t dictatorship. Written constitutions are so great that many of these countries adopt new ones every few years – China is on its 12th constitution since 1911, including four (plus revisions) under the Communists. And the unwritten British constitution is worth 100x more than any of them. It is much better to have rule of law without a constitution than to have a constitution without rule of law.

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  76. @Ali Choudhury
    I am guessing Victorianism was rooted in the growth of the British empire. If you are going to be the administrators of most of the globe, your upper middle-class needs to be sober and hard-working. Attitudes filtered down from there and to some extent up to the aristocracy, encouraged by Victoria and her husband Albert. Victorianism faded as the empire did.

    This emphasis on the First Amendment is overrated. Government censorship here in the UK is non-existent. Attempts at honest discourse in America on immigration and race make you a target for social tarring and feathering. It is what you can freely discuss in open society without angry mobs barracking you fhat really counts. All the nonsense on safe spaces and white privilege which is all the rage in American colleges have made little impact here despite the efforts of local third rate academics.

    Government censorship here in the UK is non-existent.

    Ali Choudhury, by emitting such remarks you imply that you expect readers to accept them as true, which is the same as implying that your readers are stupid, which has, as one might say, the character of an insult.

    Government censorship in the UK is enforced by the police and by judges who openly disdain the Common Law. Judges like Shamim Qureshi who were appointed specifically to mock, demoralize, and terrorize ordinary Englishmen and Englishwomen:

    [I]n March 2015 [Bristol Crown Court Judge Shamim Qureshi] ordered hardline Christian preacher Mike Overd to pay a £200 fine and pay £250 compensation* after the former paratrooper quoted offensive passages from the Bible concerning homosexuality in public.

    In England and Scotland for more than a decade, any Christian who reads the Bible aloud in Hyde Park or any public place has been liable to be taken in custody for the crime of “hardline preaching.” Now, to ensure conviction, he may be tried by a Sharia Tribunal judge who moonlights as a Crown Court Judge and rules without regard for the Common Law or the British Constitution.

    *Plus £1200 “costs,” according to other stories about the incident. After a public outcry Overd’s appeal from Muslim Judge Qureshi’s abusive ruling was allowed by English Judge David Ticehurst in December 2015, but not for legal error– only on the grounds that the CPS had not adduced sufficient evidence to support the conviction. In other words, Ticehurst ruled that Qureshi convicted Overd without evidence.

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    • Replies: @Veracitor
    Darn! Missing sentence from my comment reply to Ali Choudhury...

    The Judge Qureshi who convicted Overd also works as a Sharia judge for the most hate-filled Muslim Sharia court ("arbitration tribunal") in England, by special permission of the government. The government is grinding the faces of Englishmen into the dirt by appointing Sharia judges to mock them from benches which once supported the backsides of men like Lord Coke, and reinforcing the Muslim subjection of women by appointing fiendish Sharia-law judges to Crown judgeships so the women will have nowhere to turn for justice.
    , @yaqub the mad scientist
  77. @Anonymous
    "But I don’t know much about the beginnings of Victorianism. My hunch is that it seemed like a good idea at the time. Idealistic and/or status-striving young people perhaps demanded it?"

    Not at all. Victorian values started at the top of society, with the monarchy, specifically Queen Victoria, and trickled down from there. Victoria's ascension to the throne in 1837 marked a sharp contrast from her philandering, libertine predecessors, the various King Georges, (I-IV, with George IV being the most scandalously indiscreet with his love affairs, which were covered in the British newspapers of the day). The new moral code that centered around the court of Victoria spread downwards, to the aristocrats, gentry, and rising middle-class, who then started "moral improvement campaigns" aimed at the lower orders.

    Ironically by most accounts, it was George III who was the most faithful to his wife, with hardly a breath of scandal in that area, and had a stable fairly happy marriage. Why his children turned out as badly as they did is astounding. Of course, he was also the one who went mad towards the end of his life, but you can’t have everything.

    But that is correct regarding Geo.’s I, II, and IV; they more or less tried to bugger everything that moved or breathed in feminine clothing, some more successful than others.

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    • Replies: @Harry Baldwin
    Speaking of philandering royalty, I like the story about Prince Edward and his mistress from 1877 to June 1880, the actress Lillie Langtree. The Prince once complained to her, "I've spent enough on you to build a battleship."

    She replied, "And you've spent enough in me to float one."
  78. I just happen to be reading Little Women right now, published in 1868. I’m enjoying it far more than I thought I would, but it’s probably too girly for most of the guys here. The characters are real people and they draw me in to their lives and hearts. The setting sounds fairly close to how my grandmother (b. 1895) lived when she was a girl, with servants for the middle class and plenty of sewing all the time.

    (Aside from my main point. How has the decline of sewing skills affected modern women? Have we become collectively less detailed and more impatient? Has the disappearance of household servants made up for it?)

    Okay, main point. Little Women is basically taking a works salvation point of view for the characters’ lives. Being good means doing good, and doing good requires strenuous effort, force of will, and constant mortification. Oh, there’s mention of God’s grace, but the emphasis is all on our possible (or impossible) goodness. If they do anything bad, there’s plenty of guilt and deliberate good deed-doing to make up for it. Isn’t this the essence of Victorianism and the beginnings of modern liberalism? Believing that we can make people be good enough for their own salvation?

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    • Replies: @The Last Real Calvinist

    Little Women is basically taking a works salvation point of view for the characters’ lives. Being good means doing good, and doing good requires strenuous effort, force of will, and constant mortification. Oh, there’s mention of God’s grace, but the emphasis is all on our possible (or impossible) goodness. If they do anything bad, there’s plenty of guilt and deliberate good deed-doing to make up for it. Isn’t this the essence of Victorianism and the beginnings of modern liberalism? Believing that we can make people be good enough for their own salvation?

     

    Couldn't agree more. Important strains of the Christian heresy that is modern/postmodern liberalism can indeed be traced back to the Vickies. Victorian pride in human achievement corroded and sidelined the Christian sin-and-redemption story. The Victorians were perhaps not responsible for setting the matches that ignited the bonfire of western cultural capital, but they stoked that fire with the seemingly inexhaustible stores of fuel they inherited.
  79. @SFG
    I think as all the old lefties who believed in freedom of speech die off and are replaced by the SJWs, this might end. Remember, they control the universities and the media.

    Nobody had heard of gay marriage 30 years ago.

    And no, I'm not happy.

    It showed up in the 1972 Democrat convention, missing the following uber-leftist document by 20 votes. The Democrats of today are largely enacting the revenge of McGovern, only the Bruce Jenner mess is new. But then again, perhaps its been going on since Hatshepsut.

    http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=29605

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  80. @oh its just me

    Most striking is how Jewish-Americans have gone from liberty to censorship.
     
    not very striking - in group out group strategy. 50+ years ago, when they were dismantling western christian culture and values, free speech was quite useful, now, with them in power it's not so useful.

    I think UK MSM is more likely to openly criticize and discuss immigration and israel.

    As for "victorian' values- probably a reaction to the decadance of the last georges - not to mention the gin craze and other societal corruption - as Peter Hitchens points out - Methodism saved the UK underclasses last time, next time, it might be Islam that even white brits turn to for structure, community, and discipline. Certainly doesn't look like the CofE or any Christian group is willing to do that.

    Steve:
    Another 'interesting' aspect of the transition from decadence to Victorian values (which people here might belittle but - really are we a better society??) is racial - in India - prior to Victorian values - let's just say a decade or so before the mutiny - british officers were intermarrying at a fairly high rate- afterwards, english women in particular put a stop to it.
    I wish there were english women like that now.

    Women outmarrying is far worse for a tribe than men outmarrying. Do you think Obama would be so anti-white if he had had a healthy masculine white father figure guiding him? His grandpa doesn’t really count.

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    • Replies: @SFG
    Depends. I mean, people tend to identify with the same-sex parent for obvious reasons unless there are clear differences in temperament (a lot of the masculine women I know who *don't* hate men got on quite well with their dads). So if Obama had been a girl, probably she would have identified more with her (white) mom. I agree the lack of a father figure is very damaging to boys, whereas usually the mom sticks around to take care of the kids, so it tends to be less of an issue.
  81. @Veracitor

    Government censorship here in the UK is non-existent.
     
    Ali Choudhury, by emitting such remarks you imply that you expect readers to accept them as true, which is the same as implying that your readers are stupid, which has, as one might say, the character of an insult.

    Government censorship in the UK is enforced by the police and by judges who openly disdain the Common Law. Judges like Shamim Qureshi who were appointed specifically to mock, demoralize, and terrorize ordinary Englishmen and Englishwomen:

    [I]n March 2015 [Bristol Crown Court Judge Shamim Qureshi] ordered hardline Christian preacher Mike Overd to pay a £200 fine and pay £250 compensation* after the former paratrooper quoted offensive passages from the Bible concerning homosexuality in public.
     
    In England and Scotland for more than a decade, any Christian who reads the Bible aloud in Hyde Park or any public place has been liable to be taken in custody for the crime of "hardline preaching." Now, to ensure conviction, he may be tried by a Sharia Tribunal judge who moonlights as a Crown Court Judge and rules without regard for the Common Law or the British Constitution.

    *Plus £1200 "costs," according to other stories about the incident. After a public outcry Overd's appeal from Muslim Judge Qureshi's abusive ruling was allowed by English Judge David Ticehurst in December 2015, but not for legal error-- only on the grounds that the CPS had not adduced sufficient evidence to support the conviction. In other words, Ticehurst ruled that Qureshi convicted Overd without evidence.

    Darn! Missing sentence from my comment reply to Ali Choudhury

    The Judge Qureshi who convicted Overd also works as a Sharia judge for the most hate-filled Muslim Sharia court (“arbitration tribunal”) in England, by special permission of the government. The government is grinding the faces of Englishmen into the dirt by appointing Sharia judges to mock them from benches which once supported the backsides of men like Lord Coke, and reinforcing the Muslim subjection of women by appointing fiendish Sharia-law judges to Crown judgeships so the women will have nowhere to turn for justice.

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  82. So who would star in the Hollywood version of Twelve Years a Whore?

    As for the origins of Victorianism, I don’t think it should be considered separately from the grand sweep of history. There was a gradual increase in wholesomeness and a gradual improvement in manners from at least the Dark Ages until 1914. There’s been a gradual decline in these things since then. The Victorian era was more wholesome than the 18th century, but I think that the 18th century was more wholesome than the 17th, which was more wholesome than the 16th, which was more wholesome than the 15th, etc. Chaucer, Francois Villon and Rabelais were all very raunchy.

    Why do people go to jail for thought crime in Europe, but not in America? The answer has nothing to do with the US Constitution or with any other kind of law. People can be so naive sometimes. Words on paper are nothing compared with political necessity. The US Constitution says that declaring war is the Congress’s prerogative. No one in power cares.

    The population of the average European country is still much more homogenous than the US population. A more homogenous people are more likely to unite against their rulers. So the rulers give them a shorter leash. As European countries become less homogenous through immigration, their elites will feel more secure, so eventually they may allow US-style freedom of speech. Not until then though. It’s simple divide and conquer.

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  83. @Jim Don Bob
    Kinsley is one of the more fair minded and intelligent liberals. He is also famous for saying "A gaffe is when a politician tells the truth – some obvious truth he isn't supposed to say."
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_gaffe#Kinsley_gaffe

    Yes, I always thought that Kinsley was quite reasonable and fair-minded. He was the founding editor of Slate in 1996, and it was pretty good back then. It went downhill after his departure. Now it is just another outlet for point-and-sputter journalism.

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  84. @Anonymous
    I don't know, Steve.
    There has been a very long tradition of 'bawdiness' and 'earthiness' in English literature that dates from at least the time of Chaucer, and is to be found in Shakespeare, various 17th century and 18th century authors, the American, Ben Franklin, was no exception, and perhaps has its continuation with such luminaries as Benny Hill, Bernard Manning, Viz Comic etc.
    For one thing, Victorian times were an age of great hypocrisy in which 'respectable' gentlemen frequented prostitutes, secretly, on a massive scale. Just read the eye-watering statistics about the proportion of young women in London who were engaged in prostitution. Mrs Beeton, of cook book fame, was infected with syphilis by Mr Beeton, of which she died. That Victorian rogue 'Walter' recounts his innumerable escapades in his bragging volume 'My Secret Life'. In the 18th century, James Boswell, biographer of Samuel Johnson, is similarly forthright.
    I think that a lot of Victorian prudery was related to religion, just as 1950s Italian or Irish prudery was related to catholicism. In fact, although, Georgian bawdiness is celebrated, that also was 'officially' a prudish society, as writings by magistrates, legislators etc of that time attest.
    I think it was more of a case of 'dual morality', public and private.

    The prints of the famed artist Hogarth are very much morality tales.

    Sailer alluded to the long tradition of ‘bawdiness’ and ‘earthiness’ in English literature…such as Tome Jones (written in the 18th century, 100 years before the Victorian era)

    The question he posed was what caused such a change in the Victorian era and what caused it to reverse after 1900. his post never claimed men stopped visiting prostitutes during the Victorian era, but the literature and culture certainly changed just as the current PC era is vastly different from the previous era. The comparison is apt , as the PC era forces the elites to pretend race does not exist , just as the victorian era forced writers to pretend sex did not exist.

    In 100 years from now, people will look back in amazement that Americans pretended that race did not exist , or believed that human evolution stopped 80,000 years ago. and they will mock us for destroying the career of Tom Watson because he noticed a glaring fact about the races which most people have known for generations.

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  85. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    OT: http://nypost.com/2016/01/16/millionaire-couple-stiffed-chauffeur-out-of-800-hours-of-ot-suit/

    First-world smarts. Third-world morals. Brace yourself for the coming clusterfuck in Western society. People like Cruz and 99% of Republicans want to increase these people in our country. The “good” and “beneficial” immigrants. Lol.

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    • Replies: @oh its just me

    brace yourself for the coming clusterfuck?
     
    coming clusterfuck? Medicare fraud, financial fraud, etc - Kapoors, Patels, etc have been doing that for years here...
    the newer oriental immigrants too..
  86. @Jack D
    Good catch that shows what a liar Kinsley is. Has there ever been even one student demonstration against the teaching of evolution? Compare that to the hundreds of incidents where professors are picketed or forced to resign, lectures are disrupted, speakers are disinvited, etc. because they violate some leftist trope (for example suggesting that you have a free speech right to wear Halloween costumes that might micro-offend someone else). But Kinsley picks for his example a supposed Christian hot button. Either he is being deeply insincere or else is engaging in projection (a common leftist fault).

    Has there ever been even one student demonstration against the teaching of evolution?

    Not evolution per se, but how it’s taught and what it implies. Profs Jensen and Rushton could have told you stories…

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  87. @fnn

    This belief that people in Europe getting arrested for writing stuff is mostly superstition . Maybe it happens a handful of times, but it’s not really a jail sentence more than a symbolic gesture.
     
    Do you really consider this sentence a "symbolic gesture"?
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simon_Sheppard_(activist)#Criminal_convictions_and_imprisonment

    On 10 July 2009, Sheppard was sentenced to 4 years and 10 months in prison, and his co-defendant, Whittle, was convicted of five similar offences.[23] These sentences for publishing material on the Internet were described as "groundbreaking" by Adil Khan, representing Humberside police, whilst Sheppard's lawyer, Adrian Davies, said in his defence during the trial that he had come from a "very troubled background" and revealed that his mother had committed suicide, whilst noting that Sheppard was an intelligent man who had problems with authority, especially the police.[24] In January 2010, Sheppard and Whittle lost an appeal against their convictions, but succeeded in having their sentences reduced slightly.[25]

    Sheppard was arrested again on 25 January 2013 for breaching his licence conditions. The breach related to an article entitled "Spree Killers" from the Heritage and Destiny publication. Sheppard was returned to prison for a further three months.[3]
     

    good point, but one also dig up plenty of egregious examples in America too, like serving many years for possession of firearms or drugs. pick your poison, I guess

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  88. “Henry Porter, Vanity Fair’s London editor and a prominent British journalist in the anti-P.C. camp. . .”

    Color me shocked. How did he ever get a job at Vanity Fair?

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  89. @grey enlightenment2
    This belief that people in Europe getting arrested for writing stuff is mostly superstition . Maybe it happens a handful of times, but it's not really a jail sentence more than a symbolic gesture. Richard Spencer describes being 'arrested' in Hungary and it amounted to little more than sitting in a processing room for a little while. It's a tradeoff : no first amendment but otherwise soft on crime and comfy EU-approved dorm room jail conditions vs. being very hard on crime (with mandatory sentences) as America is ,with worst prisons and longest sentences second to Iran, Somali, or N. Korea.

    “This belief that people in Europe getting arrested for writing stuff is mostly superstition – ”

    That would be news to this woman:

    British woman arrested for FaceBook post

    Or this guy:

    Paul Weston arrested for quoting Winston Churchill

    Or any number of other people, as you can readily find from a simple Google search.

    People in Europe getting arrested for writing stuff is far from a superstition – it is an increasingly common occurrence.

    Read More
  90. It’s my sense that “Victorianism” was a reaction to the utter excesses of the Romantic period …

    Read More
    • Replies: @Sam Haysom
    I kind of like this explination. Although I think Victorian culture did adapt certain features of Romanticism to the tasks of promoting piety and patriotism.

    Muscular Christianity as a antidote to Chateaubriand/ Novalis inspired Catholic contentment and ease and one hand and as an antidote Goethe, or at least Werther inspired, effete malaise on the other. (Goethe himself was far from effete.)

    Progress as an antidote to Romantic medievalism and occultism. Etc.

    Victorianism as a kind of Calvinism- take a local phenomenon like Georgian Era licentiousness and create a portable, international ideological weapon like Calvin did with localized Lutheranism.
  91. @Jonathan Mason

    A good reference point of the British bawdy and earthy humor are the famed ‘naughty’ ‘seaside postcards’, particularly those of Donald McGill. I don’t know if they are known in the States.
     
    Yes, they seem to have been strongly associated with the 30's and World War II, but were still on sale in the 60's in newsagents everywhere, so must have been pretty popular.

    This kind of humor came from the music hall comic tradition.

    In the same vein were the bawdy innuendo songs of George Formby, once one of the biggest movie stars in the world, like When I'm Cleaning Windows and My Little Stick of Blackpool Rock (for the innocent--what does Rock rhyme with?) Formby was an early influence on the Beatles, (Lovely Rita, Meter Maid is very Formbyesque) and George Harrison owned more than one of Formby's ukeleles purchased from his estate after his death in 1962.

    Van Morison had a cleaning windows song.

    Looks like Georgie Fame there on piano who is 72 and holding in contrast to Bowie and the magnificent Rickman.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jim Don Bob
    Alan Rickman was very good in this version of Jane Austen's second best novel: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sense_and_Sensibility_%28film%29
  92. @tbraton
    One of my all time favorite movies. First saw it in a first run movie theater when I was in college, before I had read the book, and loved it from the start. Great directing, great acting and great screenplay (by John Osborne, a leading English playwright at the time: "Look Back in Anger," "The Entertainer"), not to mention a great book (reading which after seeing the movie made me appreciate even more the effort of Osborne, the screenwriter, in compressing that sprawling novel to roughly a 2-hour film).

    BTW to show how much tastes can change in a relatively short time, about 10 years later I was dating a young woman about 10 years younger than I. When she asked me what my favorite movies were, I answered "Tom Jones." I later discovered that she thought I was referring to the popular (then) Welsh singer Tom Jones (who has been forgotten by most people today).

    I am unable to give you an equally intelligent reply, so as far as movies go see “The Revenant” and I despise Leonardo De Caprio. Thomas Hardy is a scene stealer! You will not believe the primitive grunted English that comes from his mouth.

    Read More
    • Replies: @tbraton
    The mere mention of "Tom Jones" made my day. I was intending to catch "The Revenant." I am a De Caprio fan. I thought he deserved an Oscar for "The Titanic," not Kate Winslet. He carried that movie. A terrific actor imo.
  93. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @tbraton
    One of my all time favorite movies. First saw it in a first run movie theater when I was in college, before I had read the book, and loved it from the start. Great directing, great acting and great screenplay (by John Osborne, a leading English playwright at the time: "Look Back in Anger," "The Entertainer"), not to mention a great book (reading which after seeing the movie made me appreciate even more the effort of Osborne, the screenwriter, in compressing that sprawling novel to roughly a 2-hour film).

    BTW to show how much tastes can change in a relatively short time, about 10 years later I was dating a young woman about 10 years younger than I. When she asked me what my favorite movies were, I answered "Tom Jones." I later discovered that she thought I was referring to the popular (then) Welsh singer Tom Jones (who has been forgotten by most people today).

    Interesting that John Osborne’s name comes up in thread concerning censorship and the British literary tradition.

    In 1968, the then British Labour government of Harold Wilson, decided at a stroke, to abolish all theatrical censorship – a tradition that stretched back hundreds of years and involved an arcane outfit called ‘The Lord Chamberlain’s Office’, in order to show its ‘good solid progressive ie left wing credentials’. Note how these days parties of the left wish to re-introduce censorship, particularly of pornography, since these days the ‘feminist’ wing of leftist parties has the upper hand, and all appeals to ‘progressive artistic freedom’ have largely vanished.

    Anyhow, one Kenneth Tynan, dramatist and critic, and incidentally the man who deliberately distinguished himself by slipping in the word ‘fuck’ live on British television (pre Sex Pistols), decided to capitalize on the abolition of theatrical censorship by mischievously producing, rather bizzarely to modern sensibilities, the first total ‘nude revue’, Oh! Calcutta! ie a theatrical production of some rather lame sketches, songs, jokes etc with the USP that the actors were totally naked. As I recall luminaries of the day such as John Lennon contributed sketches.
    To modern tastes, a reading of the show seems rather dated and trite.

    Nevertheless, the show, in the West End stage was a massive mega hit – mainly due to its appeal to the rain coater crowd rather than its intrinsic merits.
    Naturally, the success of Oh! Calcutta! prompted imitator after imitator ‘nude reviews’ each one being even less distinguished and staler than the last one, the whole ‘shocking’ concept had just degenerated into rather seedy dirty-old-man pleasing formulaic absurdity.
    John Osborne was commissioned by a British paper to write, in all seriousness, a critical review of the latest flaccid offering. His review, the entirety of it, was typically pithy, cruelly honest and short, sharp and straight to the point.

    ‘Oh no!’, he wrote, ‘not another row of limp dicks!’

    Read More
    • Replies: @tbraton
    Very funny.

    BTW John Osborne was one of the "Angry Young Men" of the 1950's to early 1960's British theater and film. And Tony Richardson, the husband of Vanessa Redgrave and father of Natasha Richardson, directed Osborne's "Look Back in Anger" when it opened in the theater and the film later. Another "angry young man" was Alan Sillitoe who wrote both the novel and short story and screenplays for "Saturday Night Sunday Morning" (starring Albert Finney) and "Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (starring Tom Courtenay and directed by Tony Richardson). I haven't seen "Loneliness" since the 1960's, but I remember that movie made a very big impact on me at the time.
  94. “But I don’t know much about the beginnings of Victorianism.”

    No one else has mentioned her, but Gertrude Himmelfarb is big on Victorian values and has written a lot about them – but I’m unsure how much she’s written about how it was that the values of temperance, sobriety, chastity came to be so dominant.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gertrude_Himmelfarb#Ideas

    Discordiax is probably right that the Methodist revival of the Wesleys is a prime cause, although that goes back to the eighteenth century. This site says a little about the effects – and a 1950s General Secretary of the UK Labour Party said that the Labour Party owed more to Methodism than Marxism. That’s not true today even were it true once, btw.

    http://www.cornwallheritagetrust.org/discover/industry-in-cornwall/

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    • Replies: @German_reader
    "This site says a little about the effects – and a 1950s General Secretary of the UK Labour Party said that the Labour Party owed more to Methodism than Marxism"

    What's Marxist about today's Labour? It's just plutocratic open borders fanatics of the kind who read the Economist plus identity politics among various ethnic minorities and professional antiracists plus snobbish contempt for the English working class and plus a lot of moralizing god-mongering (think of Blair with his piety, Brown son of a clergyman etc.)...none of which is genuinely Marxist. At least that's how it looks from the outside.
    And those dissenters were always a subversive influence in Britain (e.g. pro-American during the war of independence). My father (who's English) regrets Britain wasn't more like the continent in the 18th century, would have been better to persecute those non-conformists and occasionally burn a few of them at the stake.
  95. anon says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @Reg Cæsar
    Why would Brits have any less contempt for our First Amendment than they do for our Second? After all, we got the latter from them, we made up the former on the spot.

    It’s not the constitution that provides the protection it’s the veneration of the constitution and this veneration only survives if each generation transmits it to the next.

    Britain had a tradition of liberty – Bill of Rights etc – but the chain of veneration was broken by the media/schools in the same way the media/schools are currently trying to do in the US.

    The key factor in the faster cultural poisoning of the UK is the almost total cultural dominance of the BBC that lasted from the end of WWII until the spread of the internet (and is still 70% true now).

    So I don’t think having a written 1st amendment in the UK would have helped much as long as there was such a dominant cultural institution trying to destroy it.

    On the other hand if defending it was made a condition of employment in the media then yeah.

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  96. anon says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @grey enlightenment2
    This belief that people in Europe getting arrested for writing stuff is mostly superstition . Maybe it happens a handful of times, but it's not really a jail sentence more than a symbolic gesture. Richard Spencer describes being 'arrested' in Hungary and it amounted to little more than sitting in a processing room for a little while. It's a tradeoff : no first amendment but otherwise soft on crime and comfy EU-approved dorm room jail conditions vs. being very hard on crime (with mandatory sentences) as America is ,with worst prisons and longest sentences second to Iran, Somali, or N. Korea.

    It’s not superstition at all – Marine Le Pen and Nick Griffin for two. However they are mostly symbolic as the aim is to frighten people into keeping quiet.

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  97. anon says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @Ali Choudhury
    I am guessing Victorianism was rooted in the growth of the British empire. If you are going to be the administrators of most of the globe, your upper middle-class needs to be sober and hard-working. Attitudes filtered down from there and to some extent up to the aristocracy, encouraged by Victoria and her husband Albert. Victorianism faded as the empire did.

    This emphasis on the First Amendment is overrated. Government censorship here in the UK is non-existent. Attempts at honest discourse in America on immigration and race make you a target for social tarring and feathering. It is what you can freely discuss in open society without angry mobs barracking you fhat really counts. All the nonsense on safe spaces and white privilege which is all the rage in American colleges have made little impact here despite the efforts of local third rate academics.

    Government censorship here in the UK is non-existent.

    Not true – there are laws against racial incitement which can and have been used to cover up immigrant crime.

    It is true that the driving force is the media not the government. The media prepare the ground and the laws follow.

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  98. @The Only Catholic Unionist
    It's my sense that "Victorianism" was a reaction to the utter excesses of the Romantic period ...

    I kind of like this explination. Although I think Victorian culture did adapt certain features of Romanticism to the tasks of promoting piety and patriotism.

    Muscular Christianity as a antidote to Chateaubriand/ Novalis inspired Catholic contentment and ease and one hand and as an antidote Goethe, or at least Werther inspired, effete malaise on the other. (Goethe himself was far from effete.)

    Progress as an antidote to Romantic medievalism and occultism. Etc.

    Victorianism as a kind of Calvinism- take a local phenomenon like Georgian Era licentiousness and create a portable, international ideological weapon like Calvin did with localized Lutheranism.

    Read More
  99. In addition to Himmelfaurb, who is great, Basil Wiley has a book called British or English Moralists which does a great job picking this strain up with Addison and carrying it forward. Wiley is truly a great mind and is the guy T.S. Eliot took his concept of the dissociation of sensibility from.

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  100. @oh its just me
    bowdlerizing is alive and well - many children's books have been "modernized' by editing out what is now considered 'racist' -try finding the original doctor dolittle, mary poppins, or or a host of others in print today.

    Also cartoons- i am old enough to remember when bugs bunny cartoons still showed the gag when say, a stick of dynamite exploded in elmer fudd's face, he looked like a 'darkie'

    Movies like breakfast at tiffany's will probably be edited for 'sensitivity' in the near future...

    “Movies like breakfast at tiffany’s will probably be edited for ‘sensitivity’ in the near future…”

    My God! The original movie was already a “bowdlerized” version of the book. I saw the movie first when I was relatively young and later the book when I was much older. I was astounded by how “dark” the book was compared to the light-hearted movie. If they edit the movie any more, you’ll wind up with cotton candy. I am astounded by how juvenile our tastes have become.

    Read More
    • Replies: @oh its just me
    yes, but now the sexual parts would be encouraged, and no one would blink and eye, but people are 'horrified' about mickey rooney playing a japanese photographer...
  101. @Ali Choudhury
    I am guessing Victorianism was rooted in the growth of the British empire. If you are going to be the administrators of most of the globe, your upper middle-class needs to be sober and hard-working. Attitudes filtered down from there and to some extent up to the aristocracy, encouraged by Victoria and her husband Albert. Victorianism faded as the empire did.

    This emphasis on the First Amendment is overrated. Government censorship here in the UK is non-existent. Attempts at honest discourse in America on immigration and race make you a target for social tarring and feathering. It is what you can freely discuss in open society without angry mobs barracking you fhat really counts. All the nonsense on safe spaces and white privilege which is all the rage in American colleges have made little impact here despite the efforts of local third rate academics.

    Government censorship is nonexistent, eh? Ask Tommy Robinson, who has just been arresred again.

    Read More
    • Replies: @anon
    A very good example - he's been arrested for a fight he had in prison the last time the govt tried to get him killed inside by Muslim inmates.
  102. @joeyjoejoe
    "Perhaps he thinks his audience is more likely to worry about the risk of creationists shutting down a biology they don’t like by protests than the risk of feminists shutting down a psychology class they don’t like."

    Or BLM getting administrators, professors, and presidents fired at Yale, Missouri, and Clairmont (McKenna?) College. Or feminists getting a (president? chairman? whatever Summers was) fired at Harvard. Or professors asking for a 'little muscle' to expel the press from a public gathering at Missouri.

    He, and his readers, may be worried about a particular thing. But if they aren't worried about the particular things that are actually happening, then they are, as I said: either afraid to state what's really going on, or idiots.

    joeyjoejoe

    “if they aren’t worried about the particular things that are actually happening, then they are, as I said: either afraid to state what’s really going on, or idiots.”

    Yes. This. Exactly. Precisely so.

    I’m getting really sick of this thing where semi-lefties complain about the suppression of free speech by ultra-lefties – but, when asked for examples of what they’re complaining about, can think of nothing but those awful Christian fundamentalists, who, as everyone knows, have prevented us all from finding out about evolutionary theory.

    Damn Kinsley for a coward.

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  103. @Anonymous Nephew
    "But I don’t know much about the beginnings of Victorianism."



    No one else has mentioned her, but Gertrude Himmelfarb is big on Victorian values and has written a lot about them - but I'm unsure how much she's written about how it was that the values of temperance, sobriety, chastity came to be so dominant.


    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gertrude_Himmelfarb#Ideas



    Discordiax is probably right that the Methodist revival of the Wesleys is a prime cause, although that goes back to the eighteenth century. This site says a little about the effects - and a 1950s General Secretary of the UK Labour Party said that the Labour Party owed more to Methodism than Marxism. That's not true today even were it true once, btw.

    http://www.cornwallheritagetrust.org/discover/industry-in-cornwall/

    “This site says a little about the effects – and a 1950s General Secretary of the UK Labour Party said that the Labour Party owed more to Methodism than Marxism”

    What’s Marxist about today’s Labour? It’s just plutocratic open borders fanatics of the kind who read the Economist plus identity politics among various ethnic minorities and professional antiracists plus snobbish contempt for the English working class and plus a lot of moralizing god-mongering (think of Blair with his piety, Brown son of a clergyman etc.)…none of which is genuinely Marxist. At least that’s how it looks from the outside.
    And those dissenters were always a subversive influence in Britain (e.g. pro-American during the war of independence). My father (who’s English) regrets Britain wasn’t more like the continent in the 18th century, would have been better to persecute those non-conformists and occasionally burn a few of them at the stake.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Absolutely.
    , @Simon in London
    They're cultural Marxists - but actually the new leadership (Corbyn & co) are classical economic Marxists, too. The media are cultural Marxist but not economic Marxist, so they attack Corbyn a lot whereas they fawned over Blair.
  104. @Veracitor

    Government censorship here in the UK is non-existent.
     
    Ali Choudhury, by emitting such remarks you imply that you expect readers to accept them as true, which is the same as implying that your readers are stupid, which has, as one might say, the character of an insult.

    Government censorship in the UK is enforced by the police and by judges who openly disdain the Common Law. Judges like Shamim Qureshi who were appointed specifically to mock, demoralize, and terrorize ordinary Englishmen and Englishwomen:

    [I]n March 2015 [Bristol Crown Court Judge Shamim Qureshi] ordered hardline Christian preacher Mike Overd to pay a £200 fine and pay £250 compensation* after the former paratrooper quoted offensive passages from the Bible concerning homosexuality in public.
     
    In England and Scotland for more than a decade, any Christian who reads the Bible aloud in Hyde Park or any public place has been liable to be taken in custody for the crime of "hardline preaching." Now, to ensure conviction, he may be tried by a Sharia Tribunal judge who moonlights as a Crown Court Judge and rules without regard for the Common Law or the British Constitution.

    *Plus £1200 "costs," according to other stories about the incident. After a public outcry Overd's appeal from Muslim Judge Qureshi's abusive ruling was allowed by English Judge David Ticehurst in December 2015, but not for legal error-- only on the grounds that the CPS had not adduced sufficient evidence to support the conviction. In other words, Ticehurst ruled that Qureshi convicted Overd without evidence.
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  105. @Anonymous
    OT: http://nypost.com/2016/01/16/millionaire-couple-stiffed-chauffeur-out-of-800-hours-of-ot-suit/

    First-world smarts. Third-world morals. Brace yourself for the coming clusterfuck in Western society. People like Cruz and 99% of Republicans want to increase these people in our country. The "good" and "beneficial" immigrants. Lol.

    brace yourself for the coming clusterfuck?

    coming clusterfuck? Medicare fraud, financial fraud, etc – Kapoors, Patels, etc have been doing that for years here…
    the newer oriental immigrants too..

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  106. @tbraton
    "Movies like breakfast at tiffany’s will probably be edited for ‘sensitivity’ in the near future…"

    My God! The original movie was already a "bowdlerized" version of the book. I saw the movie first when I was relatively young and later the book when I was much older. I was astounded by how "dark" the book was compared to the light-hearted movie. If they edit the movie any more, you'll wind up with cotton candy. I am astounded by how juvenile our tastes have become.

    yes, but now the sexual parts would be encouraged, and no one would blink and eye, but people are ‘horrified’ about mickey rooney playing a japanese photographer…

    Read More
  107. @Anonymous
    Interesting that John Osborne's name comes up in thread concerning censorship and the British literary tradition.

    In 1968, the then British Labour government of Harold Wilson, decided at a stroke, to abolish all theatrical censorship - a tradition that stretched back hundreds of years and involved an arcane outfit called 'The Lord Chamberlain's Office', in order to show its 'good solid progressive ie left wing credentials'. Note how these days parties of the left wish to re-introduce censorship, particularly of pornography, since these days the 'feminist' wing of leftist parties has the upper hand, and all appeals to 'progressive artistic freedom' have largely vanished.

    Anyhow, one Kenneth Tynan, dramatist and critic, and incidentally the man who deliberately distinguished himself by slipping in the word 'fuck' live on British television (pre Sex Pistols), decided to capitalize on the abolition of theatrical censorship by mischievously producing, rather bizzarely to modern sensibilities, the first total 'nude revue', Oh! Calcutta! ie a theatrical production of some rather lame sketches, songs, jokes etc with the USP that the actors were totally naked. As I recall luminaries of the day such as John Lennon contributed sketches.
    To modern tastes, a reading of the show seems rather dated and trite.

    Nevertheless, the show, in the West End stage was a massive mega hit - mainly due to its appeal to the rain coater crowd rather than its intrinsic merits.
    Naturally, the success of Oh! Calcutta! prompted imitator after imitator 'nude reviews' each one being even less distinguished and staler than the last one, the whole 'shocking' concept had just degenerated into rather seedy dirty-old-man pleasing formulaic absurdity.
    John Osborne was commissioned by a British paper to write, in all seriousness, a critical review of the latest flaccid offering. His review, the entirety of it, was typically pithy, cruelly honest and short, sharp and straight to the point.

    'Oh no!', he wrote, 'not another row of limp dicks!'

    Very funny.

    BTW John Osborne was one of the “Angry Young Men” of the 1950′s to early 1960′s British theater and film. And Tony Richardson, the husband of Vanessa Redgrave and father of Natasha Richardson, directed Osborne’s “Look Back in Anger” when it opened in the theater and the film later. Another “angry young man” was Alan Sillitoe who wrote both the novel and short story and screenplays for “Saturday Night Sunday Morning” (starring Albert Finney) and “Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (starring Tom Courtenay and directed by Tony Richardson). I haven’t seen “Loneliness” since the 1960′s, but I remember that movie made a very big impact on me at the time.

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  108. anon says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @Perplexed
    Government censorship is nonexistent, eh? Ask Tommy Robinson, who has just been arresred again.

    A very good example – he’s been arrested for a fight he had in prison the last time the govt tried to get him killed inside by Muslim inmates.

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  109. @Anonymous
    Up until the early 1970s, the USA, was ,in fact, a typically prudish conservative society, repressing any hint of 'public obscenity'.
    Compare it to today's status quo. The porn pumping-stations - no pun intended of San Fernando constantly flood the world with multiple acts of buggery, to the point where obscenity is universal, ubiquitous and easier to view than making the proverbial 'cup of tea'.
    One event can be blamed for this genesis, namely the 'porno-chic' surrounding Deep Throat, and the way 'senior psychologists' the 'great and the good' Hollywood A listers etc etc etc lent it an unwarranted air of notoriety.
    This happened at a strange and curious time in US history, the Vietnam and 'Civil Rights' traumatised nation was lost in a national loss of self confidence and belief.
    One 'Throat' story that always amuses me concerns the viewing of the film in the Nixon era Whitehouse cinema, when the jowlhound was away (the mice played).
    'Senior Nixon men', - now that's a great and evocative phrase of the era, shouted out crude remarks and made ribald comments throughout the showing of the film.

    Deep Throat was, of course, was made by some rather shady Italian Americans.

    Actually, I heard Nixon watched Deep Throat three times. He wanted to get it down Pat.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Pat Gilligan

    Actually, I heard Nixon watched Deep Throat three times. He wanted to get it down Pat.
     
    What do Jimmy Carter and the Key Bridge have in common?

    They both go in and out of Rosslyn.
  110. @Ali Choudhury
    I am guessing Victorianism was rooted in the growth of the British empire. If you are going to be the administrators of most of the globe, your upper middle-class needs to be sober and hard-working. Attitudes filtered down from there and to some extent up to the aristocracy, encouraged by Victoria and her husband Albert. Victorianism faded as the empire did.

    This emphasis on the First Amendment is overrated. Government censorship here in the UK is non-existent. Attempts at honest discourse in America on immigration and race make you a target for social tarring and feathering. It is what you can freely discuss in open society without angry mobs barracking you fhat really counts. All the nonsense on safe spaces and white privilege which is all the rage in American colleges have made little impact here despite the efforts of local third rate academics.

    “Government censorship here in the UK is non-existent. Attempts at honest discourse in America on immigration and race make you a target for social tarring and feathering. “

    While there is little overt censorship, social tarring and feathering is pretty rife here – as witness the fate aka stitch-up of Nobel prize winner Professor Tim Hunt

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_Hunt#Controversy_over_lunchtime_toast_at_WCSJ_2015

    Or the apology British politician Oliver Letwin was forced to issue recently

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oliver_Letwin#1985_Broadwater_Farm_memo_controversy

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  111. @Clyde
    I am unable to give you an equally intelligent reply, so as far as movies go see "The Revenant" and I despise Leonardo De Caprio. Thomas Hardy is a scene stealer! You will not believe the primitive grunted English that comes from his mouth.

    The mere mention of “Tom Jones” made my day. I was intending to catch “The Revenant.” I am a De Caprio fan. I thought he deserved an Oscar for “The Titanic,” not Kate Winslet. He carried that movie. A terrific actor imo.

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  112. @Anonymous
    Up until the early 1970s, the USA, was ,in fact, a typically prudish conservative society, repressing any hint of 'public obscenity'.
    Compare it to today's status quo. The porn pumping-stations - no pun intended of San Fernando constantly flood the world with multiple acts of buggery, to the point where obscenity is universal, ubiquitous and easier to view than making the proverbial 'cup of tea'.
    One event can be blamed for this genesis, namely the 'porno-chic' surrounding Deep Throat, and the way 'senior psychologists' the 'great and the good' Hollywood A listers etc etc etc lent it an unwarranted air of notoriety.
    This happened at a strange and curious time in US history, the Vietnam and 'Civil Rights' traumatised nation was lost in a national loss of self confidence and belief.
    One 'Throat' story that always amuses me concerns the viewing of the film in the Nixon era Whitehouse cinema, when the jowlhound was away (the mice played).
    'Senior Nixon men', - now that's a great and evocative phrase of the era, shouted out crude remarks and made ribald comments throughout the showing of the film.

    Deep Throat was, of course, was made by some rather shady Italian Americans.

    Explicit films for private sale go back as far as the invention of the 16mm film format or “gauge”. The Italian mob was involved in the distribution and such things were discreetly vended in every major city, and are indeed highly collectible today. They would usually be shown to gatherings of males in smoke filled rooms, hence they were called “smokers”. Humor, rather than masturbation was the ostensible purpose: presumably people bought them for home use for that.

    In 16mm a ten minute reel was usually $50. When 8mm came out they were a little cheaper, depending on the market: some places had to pay more protection to the mob and cops than others.

    Mailing such films or accepting orders for same via US Mail was a federal offense. Distributors were careful to send them by UPS or by truck.

    While plenty of films tried to skirt porno laws, I think Deep Throat was the first 100 percent hardcore film openly screened as such in the US.

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  113. @Ali Choudhury
    I am guessing Victorianism was rooted in the growth of the British empire. If you are going to be the administrators of most of the globe, your upper middle-class needs to be sober and hard-working. Attitudes filtered down from there and to some extent up to the aristocracy, encouraged by Victoria and her husband Albert. Victorianism faded as the empire did.

    This emphasis on the First Amendment is overrated. Government censorship here in the UK is non-existent. Attempts at honest discourse in America on immigration and race make you a target for social tarring and feathering. It is what you can freely discuss in open society without angry mobs barracking you fhat really counts. All the nonsense on safe spaces and white privilege which is all the rage in American colleges have made little impact here despite the efforts of local third rate academics.

    To add to other commenters, google “Liam Stacey”.

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  114. @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    Ironically by most accounts, it was George III who was the most faithful to his wife, with hardly a breath of scandal in that area, and had a stable fairly happy marriage. Why his children turned out as badly as they did is astounding. Of course, he was also the one who went mad towards the end of his life, but you can't have everything.

    But that is correct regarding Geo.'s I, II, and IV; they more or less tried to bugger everything that moved or breathed in feminine clothing, some more successful than others.

    Speaking of philandering royalty, I like the story about Prince Edward and his mistress from 1877 to June 1880, the actress Lillie Langtree. The Prince once complained to her, “I’ve spent enough on you to build a battleship.”

    She replied, “And you’ve spent enough in me to float one.”

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    • Replies: @tbraton
    That makes up for the horrible pun in message #109. Even I would be embarrassed to use that one.
    , @Jim Don Bob
    Watch this: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0077042/

    Francesca Annis is lovely with a capital L
  115. @grey enlightenment2
    This belief that people in Europe getting arrested for writing stuff is mostly superstition . Maybe it happens a handful of times, but it's not really a jail sentence more than a symbolic gesture. Richard Spencer describes being 'arrested' in Hungary and it amounted to little more than sitting in a processing room for a little while. It's a tradeoff : no first amendment but otherwise soft on crime and comfy EU-approved dorm room jail conditions vs. being very hard on crime (with mandatory sentences) as America is ,with worst prisons and longest sentences second to Iran, Somali, or N. Korea.

    Richard Spencer describes being ‘arrested’ in Hungary and it amounted to little more than sitting in a processing room for a little while.

    From news reports:
    Police forced the hotel to cancel the reservations for guests, put pressure on the governments of France and Russia to ban speakers from arriving in the country, and ordered the venue to break their contract with the National Policy Institute. . .

    Even more incredibly, one of the American organizers of the conference was actually arrested at the airport, detained overnight (without communication of the charges), and then deported. . .

    Around 60 police officers in a dozen police vehicles converged on the Clock House Cafe in Buda late on Friday evening and took the names and passport numbers of everyone in attendance. Only Spencer and another unnamed American associate were arrested and taken away. . .

    So, no big deal? Picked up by armed police, taken to the station and held for a few hours–who wouldn’t laugh that off? Hardly enough to discourage you from speaking your mind, right?

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    • Replies: @whorefinder

    So, no big deal? Picked up by armed police, taken to the station and held for a few hours–who wouldn’t laugh that off? Hardly enough to discourage you from speaking your mind, right?
     
    It's almost like people never learned what the term "chilling effect" really mean.
    , @Aschwin
    He actually spend the entire weekend in a detention centre together with the unnamed American attendee. It was not explained to them what the offense was, though they were ordered to sign a magyar document apparently containing a detailed explanation of their offense against the Hungarian state. They were carded of to the airport in handcuffs on monday, then released.
  116. @manton
    The tables (originally 10; Livy III 34) in fact did survive into the Imperial era. Livy (same chapter) complains that "Even in the mass of legislation today, where laws are piled one upon another in a confused heap, [the tables] still form the source of all public and private jurisprudence."

    Medieval law was basically Roman law plus canon law. "For the civil laws are nothing other than verdicts given by ancient jurists, which, reduced to order, teach our present jurists to judge" (Machiavelli, Discourses I preface 2).

    The tables (originally 10; Livy III 34) in fact did survive into the Imperial era.

    True. but they did disappear in that era. At some point they stopped being referenced at all, and the original tablets disappeared—and weren’t even noticed to be gone.

    Medieval law was basically Roman law plus canon law.

    In certain areas old Roman law—basically the local edicts—survived. Then the new invaders piled their own law on top of it. And then whoever conquered thereafter piled their laws on top of that. Without ever removing the older laws. And then church law, as you mentioned. It was a confusing morass; for example, Salic Law versus Roman Law versus Church Law was a huge thorny legal mess for French scholars over the centuries.

    One of the many reasons that Napoleon has such a complicated legacy—as opposed to say another game changer named Hitler—-is that his Napoleonic Code was so dang beloved by everyone he conquered. He basically conquered a people, swept all their confusing, contradictory laws away, set up a very clear legal code to replace it, and walked away. And the people found that a very clear, very orderly legal code, where every law was spelled out, and there was no harkening to tradition or common law or previous interpretations–well, this was much beloved. Today most European nation-states have some form of the Napoleonic Code in force.

    England never got conquered by Napoloeon, and so kept its confusing, contradictory hodgepodge of laws and rationalizations. Not that it would have helped the US much if England had been conquered by Nap, since we’d already broken free of England before Nap came along.

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  117. @Harry Baldwin
    Richard Spencer describes being ‘arrested’ in Hungary and it amounted to little more than sitting in a processing room for a little while.

    From news reports:
    Police forced the hotel to cancel the reservations for guests, put pressure on the governments of France and Russia to ban speakers from arriving in the country, and ordered the venue to break their contract with the National Policy Institute. . .

    Even more incredibly, one of the American organizers of the conference was actually arrested at the airport, detained overnight (without communication of the charges), and then deported. . .

    Around 60 police officers in a dozen police vehicles converged on the Clock House Cafe in Buda late on Friday evening and took the names and passport numbers of everyone in attendance. Only Spencer and another unnamed American associate were arrested and taken away. . .

    So, no big deal? Picked up by armed police, taken to the station and held for a few hours--who wouldn't laugh that off? Hardly enough to discourage you from speaking your mind, right?

    So, no big deal? Picked up by armed police, taken to the station and held for a few hours–who wouldn’t laugh that off? Hardly enough to discourage you from speaking your mind, right?

    It’s almost like people never learned what the term “chilling effect” really mean.

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  118. @AndrewR
    Women outmarrying is far worse for a tribe than men outmarrying. Do you think Obama would be so anti-white if he had had a healthy masculine white father figure guiding him? His grandpa doesn't really count.

    Depends. I mean, people tend to identify with the same-sex parent for obvious reasons unless there are clear differences in temperament (a lot of the masculine women I know who *don’t* hate men got on quite well with their dads). So if Obama had been a girl, probably she would have identified more with her (white) mom. I agree the lack of a father figure is very damaging to boys, whereas usually the mom sticks around to take care of the kids, so it tends to be less of an issue.

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  119. @grey enlightenment2
    This belief that people in Europe getting arrested for writing stuff is mostly superstition . Maybe it happens a handful of times, but it's not really a jail sentence more than a symbolic gesture. Richard Spencer describes being 'arrested' in Hungary and it amounted to little more than sitting in a processing room for a little while. It's a tradeoff : no first amendment but otherwise soft on crime and comfy EU-approved dorm room jail conditions vs. being very hard on crime (with mandatory sentences) as America is ,with worst prisons and longest sentences second to Iran, Somali, or N. Korea.

    I wonder if they didn’t want to mess with an American?

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  120. @Harry Baldwin
    Speaking of philandering royalty, I like the story about Prince Edward and his mistress from 1877 to June 1880, the actress Lillie Langtree. The Prince once complained to her, "I've spent enough on you to build a battleship."

    She replied, "And you've spent enough in me to float one."

    That makes up for the horrible pun in message #109. Even I would be embarrassed to use that one.

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  121. A Belgian court sentenced controversial French comedian Dieudonné Wednesday to two months in jail for incitement to hatred over alleged racist and anti-Semitic comments he made during a show in Belgium,

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  122. @Clyde
    Van Morison had a cleaning windows song.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LehhSmFhsgo

    Looks like Georgie Fame there on piano who is 72 and holding in contrast to Bowie and the magnificent Rickman.

    Alan Rickman was very good in this version of Jane Austen’s second best novel: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sense_and_Sensibility_%28film%29

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  123. @Harry Baldwin
    Speaking of philandering royalty, I like the story about Prince Edward and his mistress from 1877 to June 1880, the actress Lillie Langtree. The Prince once complained to her, "I've spent enough on you to build a battleship."

    She replied, "And you've spent enough in me to float one."

    Watch this: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0077042/

    Francesca Annis is lovely with a capital L

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  124. @Harry Baldwin
    Actually, I heard Nixon watched Deep Throat three times. He wanted to get it down Pat.

    Actually, I heard Nixon watched Deep Throat three times. He wanted to get it down Pat.

    What do Jimmy Carter and the Key Bridge have in common?

    They both go in and out of Rosslyn.

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  125. @SFG
    Sure, compare Lenny Bruce and the Slate crowd.

    Dissent looks a lot different when you have power than when you don't.

    Sure, compare Lenny Bruce and the Slate crowd.

    Dissent looks a lot different when you have power than when you don’t.

    So does sodomy. Bruce pretended to be queer in order to get out of the Navy. (Interestingly, this was just after the war ended.)

    It wouldn’t work today. They’d promote him instead!

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    • Replies: @SFG
    LOL.

    Seriously, I wonder, how much rot can this army take, and is it just going to keep going on until the Army becomes a jobs program, because nobody can start a real war with the USA for fear of starting WW3 and the end of the world?

    I mean, don't get me wrong, no more big wars is a really, really good thing, but I feel bad for the macho young guys who go to the one place they think they can still be macho young guys, and have to prance around in heels...
  126. @advancedatheist
    Charles Darwin's theory of evolution probably played a role in the reaction against Victorian sexual morality. It habituated people to the idea of accepting their animal natures, with the effect of secularizing their sexual feelings and experiences. Traditional religious views of humans sexuality simply lost credibility for people who understand the implications of evolution.

    Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution probably played a role in the reaction against Victorian sexual morality.

    The Darwinists, particularly those pushing eugenics, could be just as prudish, and even more so, than the old guard.

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  127. @Formerly CARealist
    Yes, that's true. Hatred leads to murder, as Jesus explains.

    Interestingly, I've learned some self-control from Steve Sailer. He never responds to criticism with contempt or sarcasm. He just calmly keeps making his points and tries to be intriguing. I guess this shows up in the handful of comments I've seen him make on MR or the NYT.

    I thought this “Law of Nature” that Hobbes proposes was curious because it could be seen as giving justification for hate speech laws, even though this was hardly intended by him. I’d say it could have influenced the reform of defamation law in the 19th century, the purpose of which was to provide an alternative to duelling.

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  128. @Vinay
    "Now they have to figure out how to undo decades of first-amendment-absolutist precedent of their own creation...A lot of it also is that it’s the first amendment. If it had been the sixth or twelfth amendment I don’t think people would take it nearly so seriously."

    Nicely summed up. Incidentally, conservatives seem to be much better at making dramatic U-turns in messaging and are not nearly so hampered by their past positions.

    At the risk of sounding smug, I think it's because liberals have had a long winning streak of having their beliefs (anti-imperialism, anti-racism, women's rights, gay rights etc.) turn into conventional wisdom, without ever needing to reverse themselves. Conservatives have had lots of practice in abandoning supposedly cherished principles to accommodate reality.

    Conservatives have had lots of practice in abandoning supposedly cherished principles to accommodate reality.

    Conservatives have had lots of practice at losing. They’re now very good at it. Lead conservatives to a fight and no matter how favourable their position might be they’ll still manage to lose.

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  129. @oh its just me
    bowdlerizing is alive and well - many children's books have been "modernized' by editing out what is now considered 'racist' -try finding the original doctor dolittle, mary poppins, or or a host of others in print today.

    Also cartoons- i am old enough to remember when bugs bunny cartoons still showed the gag when say, a stick of dynamite exploded in elmer fudd's face, he looked like a 'darkie'

    Movies like breakfast at tiffany's will probably be edited for 'sensitivity' in the near future...

    bowdlerizing is alive and well – many children’s books have been “modernized’ by editing out what is now considered ‘racist’

    Not just children’s books. It’s happening with 19th and early 20th century genre fiction as well. At the moment the Thought Police aren’t quite confident enough to censor the “classics” but that will be next.

    And a lot of books from the past are just going to disappear. I expect that within a few years if you try to buy an edition of Shakespeare’s complete works you’ll discover the The Merchant of Venice has mysteriously vanished. It never existed. There was no such play.

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    • Replies: @oh its just me
    A few years ago a merchant of venice movie came out- I didn't even bother to see given 21st century pc- but I understand that it ended - no joke- with a priest and someone else beating poor innocent shylock and forcing him to convert to Christianity.

    These days the left makes fun of the shallow wooden victorian hero who has no flaws- but now the black computer wiz/brain surgeon , and virtuous Jew are far more ridiculous.
  130. @manton
    Steve, I get the sense from English history and literature that morals were very cyclical for many centuries. They'd go through periods of extreme laxity followed by extreme puritanism (and once, literally, Puritanism) and then back and forth. The Victorian Era appears to be a stage in that cycle, and a reaction to the excesses of the Regency, when morals were very loose. And you left out Cleland's Fanny Hill (1748), the world's first porn novel. It was banned. And Tom Jones was quite controversial at the time. Samuel Johnson denounced it.

    I get the sense from English history and literature that morals were very cyclical for many centuries.

    Probably true, but sexual libertinism and freedom of speech don’t go together. They’re entirely separate issues. And as Huxley predicted, the likelihood is that the more sexual freedom you have the less political freedom you have. Unlimited pornography, and zero freedom of speech.

    I’m not sure how this played out in the past. The Victorians may have been reticent about sex but did they have more freedom of speech than in the debauched Regency period, or less? I’m guessing they had more, due to the rise of the popular press.

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  131. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @German_reader
    "This site says a little about the effects – and a 1950s General Secretary of the UK Labour Party said that the Labour Party owed more to Methodism than Marxism"

    What's Marxist about today's Labour? It's just plutocratic open borders fanatics of the kind who read the Economist plus identity politics among various ethnic minorities and professional antiracists plus snobbish contempt for the English working class and plus a lot of moralizing god-mongering (think of Blair with his piety, Brown son of a clergyman etc.)...none of which is genuinely Marxist. At least that's how it looks from the outside.
    And those dissenters were always a subversive influence in Britain (e.g. pro-American during the war of independence). My father (who's English) regrets Britain wasn't more like the continent in the 18th century, would have been better to persecute those non-conformists and occasionally burn a few of them at the stake.

    Absolutely.

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  132. @German_reader
    "This site says a little about the effects – and a 1950s General Secretary of the UK Labour Party said that the Labour Party owed more to Methodism than Marxism"

    What's Marxist about today's Labour? It's just plutocratic open borders fanatics of the kind who read the Economist plus identity politics among various ethnic minorities and professional antiracists plus snobbish contempt for the English working class and plus a lot of moralizing god-mongering (think of Blair with his piety, Brown son of a clergyman etc.)...none of which is genuinely Marxist. At least that's how it looks from the outside.
    And those dissenters were always a subversive influence in Britain (e.g. pro-American during the war of independence). My father (who's English) regrets Britain wasn't more like the continent in the 18th century, would have been better to persecute those non-conformists and occasionally burn a few of them at the stake.

    They’re cultural Marxists – but actually the new leadership (Corbyn & co) are classical economic Marxists, too. The media are cultural Marxist but not economic Marxist, so they attack Corbyn a lot whereas they fawned over Blair.

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    • Replies: @SFG
    An important distinction, and one everyone forgets when using their favorite euphemism for Jews...you can definitely believe in weird lefty stuff while still being a capitalist.

    Cultural Marxism, though, was initially supposed to be a covert way of putting forth the whole Marxist program. It seems to have mutated into its own thing, with actual economic communism being forgotten and the whole point being to exalt every abnormal preference and hyper-minority group.

    I'm curious to see if Steve or anyone has anything to say about this. It's really quite interesting, and shows how ideas can come loose from their original mooring--the Renaissance was supposed to be a revival of classical thinking, after all.

  133. @Harry Baldwin
    Richard Spencer describes being ‘arrested’ in Hungary and it amounted to little more than sitting in a processing room for a little while.

    From news reports:
    Police forced the hotel to cancel the reservations for guests, put pressure on the governments of France and Russia to ban speakers from arriving in the country, and ordered the venue to break their contract with the National Policy Institute. . .

    Even more incredibly, one of the American organizers of the conference was actually arrested at the airport, detained overnight (without communication of the charges), and then deported. . .

    Around 60 police officers in a dozen police vehicles converged on the Clock House Cafe in Buda late on Friday evening and took the names and passport numbers of everyone in attendance. Only Spencer and another unnamed American associate were arrested and taken away. . .

    So, no big deal? Picked up by armed police, taken to the station and held for a few hours--who wouldn't laugh that off? Hardly enough to discourage you from speaking your mind, right?

    He actually spend the entire weekend in a detention centre together with the unnamed American attendee. It was not explained to them what the offense was, though they were ordered to sign a magyar document apparently containing a detailed explanation of their offense against the Hungarian state. They were carded of to the airport in handcuffs on monday, then released.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    I'm Hungarian, and from media reports at the time I can tell you that the legality of whatever happened to them was highly questionable. But, in the end, nobody who is anybody had an interest in further investigating the matter.

    It appears Orbán (who only learned of this whole thing a few days before from leftist papers) considered the whole thing to be a provocation and personally ordered the event to be disrupted and the main organizers to be arrested and deported. (Actually, he ordered the interior minister to order this.) Needless to say, while he was probably using some anti-terrorism or whatever legislation, it was probably more or less illegal.
    , @Harry Baldwin
    Thanks for that information, I couldn't find much about what happened to Spencer after his arrest on the net.
  134. @NOTA
    I think freedom of speech has benefitted a lot from the media (especially newspapers) being powerful. for both practical and cultural reasons, U.S. newspapers tend to support free speech, so for many years, there was a bipartisan set of powers in the U.S. who were very strongly in favor of very broad free speech rights.

    The people who supported pornography or communism or anarchism or naziism or blasphemy were always a very small fraction of the support for free speech--mostly it was people who didn't want the state deciding who'd be allowed to say what.

    Newspapers are much bigger in Britain than they are in the US.

    A big difference is that most UK newspapers are right-of-center (and, even if not literal tabloids, very tabloid-ish by US standards). US newspapers are almost uniformly very left-wing (except for the Wall Street Journal, which might as well be) and marketed as “prestige” publications, read by influential people.

    So from a leftist’s perspective, US newspapers quite literally “speak truth to power,” while UK newspapers speak nonsense to nobodies.

    And thus a proportionately much smaller industry is able to exert much greater influence.

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  135. Another subtle form of government censorship in the UK exists because it is illegal to report the names of plaintiffs in sexual offense trials, or to give any information that would identify them in media reports, or presumably on any publicly available media such as the Internet.

    The absurdity of these reasonable-sounding law came to light about three years ago when a very well-known soap opera actor was put on trial for allegedly raping a six-year-old girl and continuing to rape her for several years afterwards late at night while he was drunk.

    What the British public could not understand was how he had access to the child and where where the parents.

    What the press could not report was that the plaintiff was a close relative of the defendant and that one of the main witnesses for the prosecution was his ex-wife who had been in bitter divorce proceedings. However the press could not report the identity of the wife, because that would make the identify of the child rather obvious.

    The prosecution seemed to be particularly vindictive, because had the actor also been charged with incest, then his name too would have been placed under reporting restrictions.

    The jury eventually found the defendant not guilty, possibly because medical evidence showed that the girl was still a virgin at the time of the trial, although the judge instructed the jury that the virginity of the girl should not be regarded as favorable to the defense. (Whatever!).

    However, although there was considerable controversy over why the Crown Prosecution Service had ever allowed this case to come to court, it could never be properly discussed in the media after the case was over, because, you have guessed it, that would identify the plaintiff.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2421566/Michael-Le-Vell-forgives-girl-falsely-accused-rape–sue-vindictive-CPS-putting-trial.html

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  136. @Aschwin
    He actually spend the entire weekend in a detention centre together with the unnamed American attendee. It was not explained to them what the offense was, though they were ordered to sign a magyar document apparently containing a detailed explanation of their offense against the Hungarian state. They were carded of to the airport in handcuffs on monday, then released.

    I’m Hungarian, and from media reports at the time I can tell you that the legality of whatever happened to them was highly questionable. But, in the end, nobody who is anybody had an interest in further investigating the matter.

    It appears Orbán (who only learned of this whole thing a few days before from leftist papers) considered the whole thing to be a provocation and personally ordered the event to be disrupted and the main organizers to be arrested and deported. (Actually, he ordered the interior minister to order this.) Needless to say, while he was probably using some anti-terrorism or whatever legislation, it was probably more or less illegal.

    Read More
    • Replies: @SFG
    So...what do you think he was up to? Wanted to put some air between himself and the far right for the benefit of Europe, or is something more complicated that I would never think of because I know nothing about Hungary going on?
  137. @Reg Cæsar

    Sure, compare Lenny Bruce and the Slate crowd.

    Dissent looks a lot different when you have power than when you don’t.
     
    So does sodomy. Bruce pretended to be queer in order to get out of the Navy. (Interestingly, this was just after the war ended.)

    It wouldn't work today. They'd promote him instead!

    LOL.

    Seriously, I wonder, how much rot can this army take, and is it just going to keep going on until the Army becomes a jobs program, because nobody can start a real war with the USA for fear of starting WW3 and the end of the world?

    I mean, don’t get me wrong, no more big wars is a really, really good thing, but I feel bad for the macho young guys who go to the one place they think they can still be macho young guys, and have to prance around in heels…

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    • Replies: @Vinay
    "I feel bad for the macho young guys who go to the one place they think they can still be macho young guys, and have to prance around in heels…"

    The American military? The same military which had to give big signup bonuses just a few years ago, because macho young men weren't too keen to get blown up by IEDs in Iraq?

    You might have a point if you'd written this in the 90s, but the dream of the army as some sorta vestigeal-relic-turned-cushy-jobs-program kinda came crashing down with the a Twin Towers.
  138. @Simon in London
    They're cultural Marxists - but actually the new leadership (Corbyn & co) are classical economic Marxists, too. The media are cultural Marxist but not economic Marxist, so they attack Corbyn a lot whereas they fawned over Blair.

    An important distinction, and one everyone forgets when using their favorite euphemism for Jews…you can definitely believe in weird lefty stuff while still being a capitalist.

    Cultural Marxism, though, was initially supposed to be a covert way of putting forth the whole Marxist program. It seems to have mutated into its own thing, with actual economic communism being forgotten and the whole point being to exalt every abnormal preference and hyper-minority group.

    I’m curious to see if Steve or anyone has anything to say about this. It’s really quite interesting, and shows how ideas can come loose from their original mooring–the Renaissance was supposed to be a revival of classical thinking, after all.

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    • Replies: @anon
    The number of cultural Marxists was small so they needed to colonize cultural nodes where small numbers could have a large effect e.g. TV and teacher training.

    Once in place they needed to disguise their intention - which was poisoning the West enough to allow a Marxist revolution - so that an army of idealistic but non-Marxist young liberals would swallow the poison and spread it willingly.

    So they sugar coated cultural Marxist ideas with utopian liberal spin and fed it to naive young liberals whereupon it took on a life of its own detached from its Marxist roots.
    , @Jack D
    The problem was that at some point EVERYONE stopped believing in economic Marxism (in the classical Soviet sense). This is a fairly common problem, for example in religions that believe that the world will end on a certain day or that their founder is the Messiah. This doesn't usually lead to the end of the religion when the appointed day comes and goes or the Messiah drops dead - people have too much invested. Instead you just rationalize the event, move the goal posts and carry on with the program.
    , @dfordoom

    Cultural Marxism, though, was initially supposed to be a covert way of putting forth the whole Marxist program. It seems to have mutated into its own thing, with actual economic communism being forgotten and the whole point being to exalt every abnormal preference and hyper-minority group.
     
    Agreed. Cultural Marxism today is essentially right-wing. It protects the interests of megacorporations and billionaire capitalists. It has become a weapon used to destroy any vestiges of actual leftism.

    That's why neocons have no problems with Cultural Marxism. Neocons and Cultural Marxists are more or less identical.
  139. @reiner Tor
    I'm Hungarian, and from media reports at the time I can tell you that the legality of whatever happened to them was highly questionable. But, in the end, nobody who is anybody had an interest in further investigating the matter.

    It appears Orbán (who only learned of this whole thing a few days before from leftist papers) considered the whole thing to be a provocation and personally ordered the event to be disrupted and the main organizers to be arrested and deported. (Actually, he ordered the interior minister to order this.) Needless to say, while he was probably using some anti-terrorism or whatever legislation, it was probably more or less illegal.

    So…what do you think he was up to? Wanted to put some air between himself and the far right for the benefit of Europe, or is something more complicated that I would never think of because I know nothing about Hungary going on?

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    Wanted to put some air between himself and the far right
     
    That's about it.

    The thing was denounced by leftist news portals and blogs and I think even the biggest tv channel mentioned it ("racists are about to hold a conference in Budapest!") so Orbán felt (correctly, in my opinion) that he would be denounced if he allowed the conference to go through unhindered. He's constantly denounced for his supposed ties to the far right, and so he's not eager to provide his opponents with ammunition for no political benefit.
    , @nydwracu
    NPI was trying to network with Jobbik, which is the only serious competition Fidesz has. Fidesz has done about as much as it can to ensure it'll never be voted out, but presumably they're still worried. PR must have also been a factor, but NPI stuck its dick in a hornets' nest.
  140. @SFG
    So...what do you think he was up to? Wanted to put some air between himself and the far right for the benefit of Europe, or is something more complicated that I would never think of because I know nothing about Hungary going on?

    Wanted to put some air between himself and the far right

    That’s about it.

    The thing was denounced by leftist news portals and blogs and I think even the biggest tv channel mentioned it (“racists are about to hold a conference in Budapest!”) so Orbán felt (correctly, in my opinion) that he would be denounced if he allowed the conference to go through unhindered. He’s constantly denounced for his supposed ties to the far right, and so he’s not eager to provide his opponents with ammunition for no political benefit.

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  141. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    I disagree with the conclusion attributed to Kinsley.

    The drafters of the original U.S. Constitution did not include a Bill of Rights, largely because they believed the claimed rights already existed (prior to the Constitution) and that writing them down would simply make them easier to attack. This concern has proven prophetic. Consider that the 2nd Amendment is one of the clearest, most unambiguous sentences in the English language, yet it is constantly under attack and will, no doubt, be rendered meaningless within the next 50 years. On the other hand, the unwritten “right” to abortion on demand is virtually untouchable.

    Acknowledging a pre-existing right, such as self-defense, in a written document merely defines the parameters of that right and allows its opponents the luxury of pulling out the fillet knives and cutting at the edges, until nothing is left. Moreover, even most defenders of the 2nd Amendment do not realize that the right to keep and bear arms is not something granted to them by the 2nd Amendment, but is a pre-Constitutional right and that the amendment grants the people nothing (read it), but prohibits the government from infringing on that pre-existing right. However, by including this “right” in a written constitution, the illusion is created that the right is granted by the government and, therefore, can also be withdrawn by the government (in our case, “the people”).

    Clearly, having a written constitution has not protected the U.S. from the same misfortunes experienced in Britain. Even our own written U.S. Constitution has evolved from one originally designed to protect liberty (i.e., self-government) to one that now is focused solely on expanding individual rights. The mere fact that we have a written constitution has not preserved the liberties upon which the Constitution is based. Anyone who thinks that the Supreme Court will allow something as flimsy as a written constitution to stand in the way of “social progress”, even at the expense of our traditional liberties, is living in a fantasy land.

    The plight of Britain and the U.S. shows that every generation must be re-acquainted with the basic concepts of liberty and the traditional values upon which that liberty is based. Having a “right” written down in a founding document is no guarantee that succeeding generations will understand the origin, meaning and purpose of that right.

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    • Replies: @dfordoom

    However, by including this “right” in a written constitution, the illusion is created that the right is granted by the government and, therefore, can also be withdrawn by the government (in our case, “the people”).
     
    That's the key point. It's a very European concept - that the people have no rights and no liberties other than those that the government decides to grant them. And the government therefore can take away such rights and liberties if it so chooses.

    The English concept is that the people have unlimited rights and liberties, other than those that the government may at times decide to restrict. And the people can therefore demand the return of such liberties if it is no longer necessary for them to be restricted.

    It's the difference between the European outlook which is essentially authoritarian and the English outlook that is based on individual freedom.
  142. There is talk of the UK leaving the European Convention on Human Rights and replacing that with a British Bill of Rights. This is likely if the UK votes to leave the EU.

    In theory this is a great idea, but I fear we are too far gone and that if this happens it will not contain suitable provisions for free expression and free enquiry. The likelihood is that it will be left vague and remain for the courts – such as the new UK supreme court – to set precedence and establish case-law.

    The senior members of the judiciary have been packed with bein-pensants, so I am not hopeful, firstly on free expression being properly protected and secondly, that any British Bill of Rights will be appropriately discriminating in favour of Brits over foreigners.

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  143. @Aschwin
    He actually spend the entire weekend in a detention centre together with the unnamed American attendee. It was not explained to them what the offense was, though they were ordered to sign a magyar document apparently containing a detailed explanation of their offense against the Hungarian state. They were carded of to the airport in handcuffs on monday, then released.

    Thanks for that information, I couldn’t find much about what happened to Spencer after his arrest on the net.

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  144. @Jonathan Mason

    A good reference point of the British bawdy and earthy humor are the famed ‘naughty’ ‘seaside postcards’, particularly those of Donald McGill. I don’t know if they are known in the States.
     
    Yes, they seem to have been strongly associated with the 30's and World War II, but were still on sale in the 60's in newsagents everywhere, so must have been pretty popular.

    This kind of humor came from the music hall comic tradition.

    In the same vein were the bawdy innuendo songs of George Formby, once one of the biggest movie stars in the world, like When I'm Cleaning Windows and My Little Stick of Blackpool Rock (for the innocent--what does Rock rhyme with?) Formby was an early influence on the Beatles, (Lovely Rita, Meter Maid is very Formbyesque) and George Harrison owned more than one of Formby's ukeleles purchased from his estate after his death in 1962.

    “Excuse me, young lady, do you like Kipling?”
    “Oooh, I don’t know, you naughty boy! I’ve never kippled.”

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    • Replies: @celt darnell
    A pretty clever twofer:

    The woman pretends he's making a sexual offer by feigning ignorance and, at the same time, fraudulently declaims her virginity.

    Gill understood the female sex quite well, it seems.
  145. @Michael K
    There is a scene in the movie "Amazing Grace" where William Wilberforce is chopping wood to vent some anger. He yells while chopping about ending slavery and "reformation of manners". It was the Evangelical/Low Church movement and rising Middle Class that Wilberforce was part of demanding better behavior especially by the elites. Victorianism was a bottom up movement. Remember after Farmer George III, his son the Regent and George IV was a glutton, probably fathered several bastard kids, and tried to divorce his wife, and William IV had 10 bastard kids. In a sense it was your typical younger generation revolting against what they saw as the excesses of the parents in this case.

    I chewed over UK-US differences here.

    “PC, which only reformed manners in the U.S.A., has revolutionized them in Britain….,” etc.

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  146. @SFG
    LOL.

    Seriously, I wonder, how much rot can this army take, and is it just going to keep going on until the Army becomes a jobs program, because nobody can start a real war with the USA for fear of starting WW3 and the end of the world?

    I mean, don't get me wrong, no more big wars is a really, really good thing, but I feel bad for the macho young guys who go to the one place they think they can still be macho young guys, and have to prance around in heels...

    “I feel bad for the macho young guys who go to the one place they think they can still be macho young guys, and have to prance around in heels…”

    The American military? The same military which had to give big signup bonuses just a few years ago, because macho young men weren’t too keen to get blown up by IEDs in Iraq?

    You might have a point if you’d written this in the 90s, but the dream of the army as some sorta vestigeal-relic-turned-cushy-jobs-program kinda came crashing down with the a Twin Towers.

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  147. Pretty good article. You asked Is it, in fact, possible to reform thought by reforming language

    Well of course George Orwell warned against the possibility. My own feeling is that those of us of your or mine generation will not change the way they think, even if they adapt spoken and written language to whatever is a la mode, but that younger people growing up and learning their first language in an era of PC may well develop with a crippled capacity for Crimethink.

    For example, they would not use the word ‘crippled’ which can be offensive to people with impaired mobility, who apparently still know what the word ‘crippled’ means, if only so they are ready to be offended by it should it be uttered in their hearing. But younger people would not use the word ‘crippled’ because they would not know it, and therefore would not have the thought, and so would be quite unable to use the word in a metaphor.

    Thus one can expect that numerous useful metaphors will soon fall out of use.

    I live half my time in the Dominican Republic and speak Spanish when there and find the total lack of PC refreshing. People will address others, if they don’t know their name, as ‘brownie’, ‘fatty’, ‘skinny’, ‘foreigner’ and so on without a second thought. I was amused to see in a carnival parade a fat white missionary cooking in a huge pot and surrounded by black boys dressed in grass skirts and wielding spears. (No doubt they had jockstraps underneath.)

    Everyone seemed to be having a good time and no one seemed to be taking offense to any possible connection between cannibals and the Caribbean, which has probably been forgotten anyway.

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  148. @SFG
    OT, but perhaps Steve can mine some meditation on achievement and attempts to achieve equality of outcome in academia out of this:

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/startswithabang/2016/01/15/what-all-the-harassment-stories-in-astronomy-really-mean/#2715e4857a0b4b3f08c32ccc

    “OT, but perhaps Steve can mine some meditation on achievement and attempts to achieve equality of outcome in academia out of this:

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/startswithabang/2016/01/15/what-all-the-harassment-stories-in-astronomy-really-mean/#2715e4857a0b4b3f08c32ccc”

    This is Tailhook for the sciences. Look for women to start exploiting this to gain entry to science faculties via sex-based set-asides, rather than merit. Jobs for the girls allround.

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    • Replies: @5371
    [Look for women to start exploiting this to gain entry to science faculties via sex-based set-asides, rather than merit.]

    Start?
  149. @dfordoom

    bowdlerizing is alive and well – many children’s books have been “modernized’ by editing out what is now considered ‘racist’
     
    Not just children’s books. It's happening with 19th and early 20th century genre fiction as well. At the moment the Thought Police aren't quite confident enough to censor the "classics" but that will be next.

    And a lot of books from the past are just going to disappear. I expect that within a few years if you try to buy an edition of Shakespeare's complete works you'll discover the The Merchant of Venice has mysteriously vanished. It never existed. There was no such play.

    A few years ago a merchant of venice movie came out- I didn’t even bother to see given 21st century pc- but I understand that it ended – no joke- with a priest and someone else beating poor innocent shylock and forcing him to convert to Christianity.

    These days the left makes fun of the shallow wooden victorian hero who has no flaws- but now the black computer wiz/brain surgeon , and virtuous Jew are far more ridiculous.

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    • Replies: @SFG
    He's forced to convert in the original play. Of course this was actually a feel-good ending at the time, as he can now go to Heaven if he behaves himself from now on.

    He's not virtuous, they just play up the anti-Semitic angle to make his villainy more understandable. Sort of like Magneto's Holocaust backstory, to take a modern pop-culture analogy.

    You probably wouldn't have enjoyed it, though I don't hesitate to recommend it to people of different political stripes--Pacino's one of the great actors of our time.
  150. @Discordiax
    Proto-Victorianism starts with John WEsley's Methodist revival. Methodists were encouraged to stop drinking and whoring, and lead productive, NEd Flanders-ish lives. Young Methodists were often thoroughly embarrassed by their foul-mouthed, hard-drinking grandparents of the Ben Franklin generation.

    As with any fashion, cutting-edge types pushed it farther, generation after generation, to the point where the apocryphal table legs were being called limbs and (?)Georgian furniture-legs being covered lest someone think of naked flesh.

    The table legs coverings were taken off at weekends . Furniture was super expensive and people wore heavy shoes. It was to protect the legs from damage.

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  151. @reiner Tor

    Wanted to put some air between himself and the far right
     
    That's about it.

    The thing was denounced by leftist news portals and blogs and I think even the biggest tv channel mentioned it ("racists are about to hold a conference in Budapest!") so Orbán felt (correctly, in my opinion) that he would be denounced if he allowed the conference to go through unhindered. He's constantly denounced for his supposed ties to the far right, and so he's not eager to provide his opponents with ammunition for no political benefit.

    Fair enough. Thanks!

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  152. @oh its just me
    A few years ago a merchant of venice movie came out- I didn't even bother to see given 21st century pc- but I understand that it ended - no joke- with a priest and someone else beating poor innocent shylock and forcing him to convert to Christianity.

    These days the left makes fun of the shallow wooden victorian hero who has no flaws- but now the black computer wiz/brain surgeon , and virtuous Jew are far more ridiculous.

    He’s forced to convert in the original play. Of course this was actually a feel-good ending at the time, as he can now go to Heaven if he behaves himself from now on.

    He’s not virtuous, they just play up the anti-Semitic angle to make his villainy more understandable. Sort of like Magneto’s Holocaust backstory, to take a modern pop-culture analogy.

    You probably wouldn’t have enjoyed it, though I don’t hesitate to recommend it to people of different political stripes–Pacino’s one of the great actors of our time.

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  153. anon says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @SFG
    An important distinction, and one everyone forgets when using their favorite euphemism for Jews...you can definitely believe in weird lefty stuff while still being a capitalist.

    Cultural Marxism, though, was initially supposed to be a covert way of putting forth the whole Marxist program. It seems to have mutated into its own thing, with actual economic communism being forgotten and the whole point being to exalt every abnormal preference and hyper-minority group.

    I'm curious to see if Steve or anyone has anything to say about this. It's really quite interesting, and shows how ideas can come loose from their original mooring--the Renaissance was supposed to be a revival of classical thinking, after all.

    The number of cultural Marxists was small so they needed to colonize cultural nodes where small numbers could have a large effect e.g. TV and teacher training.

    Once in place they needed to disguise their intention – which was poisoning the West enough to allow a Marxist revolution – so that an army of idealistic but non-Marxist young liberals would swallow the poison and spread it willingly.

    So they sugar coated cultural Marxist ideas with utopian liberal spin and fed it to naive young liberals whereupon it took on a life of its own detached from its Marxist roots.

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  154. @SFG
    An important distinction, and one everyone forgets when using their favorite euphemism for Jews...you can definitely believe in weird lefty stuff while still being a capitalist.

    Cultural Marxism, though, was initially supposed to be a covert way of putting forth the whole Marxist program. It seems to have mutated into its own thing, with actual economic communism being forgotten and the whole point being to exalt every abnormal preference and hyper-minority group.

    I'm curious to see if Steve or anyone has anything to say about this. It's really quite interesting, and shows how ideas can come loose from their original mooring--the Renaissance was supposed to be a revival of classical thinking, after all.

    The problem was that at some point EVERYONE stopped believing in economic Marxism (in the classical Soviet sense). This is a fairly common problem, for example in religions that believe that the world will end on a certain day or that their founder is the Messiah. This doesn’t usually lead to the end of the religion when the appointed day comes and goes or the Messiah drops dead – people have too much invested. Instead you just rationalize the event, move the goal posts and carry on with the program.

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  155. One has to look at the roots of the Bill of Rights. The motivation of it’s authors wasn’t so much a principle (or principles) related to freedom or liberty, but rather, historic violations of those principles. With regards to the Fourth Amendment, for example, it was the writs of assistance issued by the king which allowed search and seizure of American ocean vessels, regardless of probable cause. The Third Amendment (against quartering soldiers) came about – in part – because English troops would quarter themselves in Scottish communities as a pretext for discouraging any Scottish uprisings that might be in the works.

    With regards to the First Amendment, it was the British concept of “seditious libel” that colonists had a problem with. Seditious libel meant that any speech or print that undermined the authority, legitimacy or control of the king over his subjects constituted libel, whether that speech was true or not. Of course, in the US, it’s been famously noted that it’s illegal to yell, “fire!” in a crowded theater, but we all know that isn’t always true. If, in fact, there is a fire in the theater, then it’s perfectly legal to yell “fire”, because it’s true. Americans (so far) still regard the ability to speak the truth more highly than maintaining the social order.

    I believe the spirit of seditious libel still lives on in Britain, however, which is why people over there get thrown in jail or fined for “hate speech” instead of just being stigmatized by groups like the SPLC, like we do here in the US. They believe that social order and civic harmony are more important than freedom of expression. Keep in mind, seditious libel was a perfectly legitimate concept within the context of a monarchy, because there were few relief valves for wide spread discontent with a king, as he was appointed for life, not elected. The concept, however, is obsolete in the modern world.

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  156. @Jonathan Mason

    A good reference point of the British bawdy and earthy humor are the famed ‘naughty’ ‘seaside postcards’, particularly those of Donald McGill. I don’t know if they are known in the States.
     
    Yes, they seem to have been strongly associated with the 30's and World War II, but were still on sale in the 60's in newsagents everywhere, so must have been pretty popular.

    This kind of humor came from the music hall comic tradition.

    In the same vein were the bawdy innuendo songs of George Formby, once one of the biggest movie stars in the world, like When I'm Cleaning Windows and My Little Stick of Blackpool Rock (for the innocent--what does Rock rhyme with?) Formby was an early influence on the Beatles, (Lovely Rita, Meter Maid is very Formbyesque) and George Harrison owned more than one of Formby's ukeleles purchased from his estate after his death in 1962.

    [George] Formby was an early influence on the Beatles, (Lovely Rita, Meter Maid is very Formbyesque) and George Harrison owned more than one of Formby’s ukeleles purchased from his estate after his death in 1962.

    A Yank counterpart to this story is when Bob Dylan invited Tiny Tim up to Woodstock (not the festival, but the village that refused it) for a weekend at his house there. Tim enchanted his host with a Rudy Vallee-style version of “Like a Rolling Stone”, followed by a Dylanesque take on one of Vallee’s classics.

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  157. @Anonymous
    I disagree with the conclusion attributed to Kinsley.

    The drafters of the original U.S. Constitution did not include a Bill of Rights, largely because they believed the claimed rights already existed (prior to the Constitution) and that writing them down would simply make them easier to attack. This concern has proven prophetic. Consider that the 2nd Amendment is one of the clearest, most unambiguous sentences in the English language, yet it is constantly under attack and will, no doubt, be rendered meaningless within the next 50 years. On the other hand, the unwritten "right" to abortion on demand is virtually untouchable.

    Acknowledging a pre-existing right, such as self-defense, in a written document merely defines the parameters of that right and allows its opponents the luxury of pulling out the fillet knives and cutting at the edges, until nothing is left. Moreover, even most defenders of the 2nd Amendment do not realize that the right to keep and bear arms is not something granted to them by the 2nd Amendment, but is a pre-Constitutional right and that the amendment grants the people nothing (read it), but prohibits the government from infringing on that pre-existing right. However, by including this "right" in a written constitution, the illusion is created that the right is granted by the government and, therefore, can also be withdrawn by the government (in our case, "the people").

    Clearly, having a written constitution has not protected the U.S. from the same misfortunes experienced in Britain. Even our own written U.S. Constitution has evolved from one originally designed to protect liberty (i.e., self-government) to one that now is focused solely on expanding individual rights. The mere fact that we have a written constitution has not preserved the liberties upon which the Constitution is based. Anyone who thinks that the Supreme Court will allow something as flimsy as a written constitution to stand in the way of "social progress", even at the expense of our traditional liberties, is living in a fantasy land.

    The plight of Britain and the U.S. shows that every generation must be re-acquainted with the basic concepts of liberty and the traditional values upon which that liberty is based. Having a "right" written down in a founding document is no guarantee that succeeding generations will understand the origin, meaning and purpose of that right.

    However, by including this “right” in a written constitution, the illusion is created that the right is granted by the government and, therefore, can also be withdrawn by the government (in our case, “the people”).

    That’s the key point. It’s a very European concept – that the people have no rights and no liberties other than those that the government decides to grant them. And the government therefore can take away such rights and liberties if it so chooses.

    The English concept is that the people have unlimited rights and liberties, other than those that the government may at times decide to restrict. And the people can therefore demand the return of such liberties if it is no longer necessary for them to be restricted.

    It’s the difference between the European outlook which is essentially authoritarian and the English outlook that is based on individual freedom.

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    • Replies: @anon

    The English concept is that the people have unlimited rights and liberties, other than those that the government may at times decide to restrict.
     
    Yes, and the current political class are trying to bury the memory of this fundamental difference.
  158. @SFG
    An important distinction, and one everyone forgets when using their favorite euphemism for Jews...you can definitely believe in weird lefty stuff while still being a capitalist.

    Cultural Marxism, though, was initially supposed to be a covert way of putting forth the whole Marxist program. It seems to have mutated into its own thing, with actual economic communism being forgotten and the whole point being to exalt every abnormal preference and hyper-minority group.

    I'm curious to see if Steve or anyone has anything to say about this. It's really quite interesting, and shows how ideas can come loose from their original mooring--the Renaissance was supposed to be a revival of classical thinking, after all.

    Cultural Marxism, though, was initially supposed to be a covert way of putting forth the whole Marxist program. It seems to have mutated into its own thing, with actual economic communism being forgotten and the whole point being to exalt every abnormal preference and hyper-minority group.

    Agreed. Cultural Marxism today is essentially right-wing. It protects the interests of megacorporations and billionaire capitalists. It has become a weapon used to destroy any vestiges of actual leftism.

    That’s why neocons have no problems with Cultural Marxism. Neocons and Cultural Marxists are more or less identical.

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  159. I’d guess Victorian sexual conservativism had a lot to do with scientific advances- educated people gradually becoming aware that SDTs were caused by invisible microbes.

    In a similar way to modern left-liberalism benefiting the interests of trans-national corporations, Victorian prudishness probably suited the interests of both the progressive medical/scientific community and religious social conservatives.

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  160. Look at the case law and recent statutes and you won’t find very much comfort that you have more protections with a written constitution than without. It’s the tradition of a Rule of Law that really matters.

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  161. @Anonymous
    I don't know, Steve.
    There has been a very long tradition of 'bawdiness' and 'earthiness' in English literature that dates from at least the time of Chaucer, and is to be found in Shakespeare, various 17th century and 18th century authors, the American, Ben Franklin, was no exception, and perhaps has its continuation with such luminaries as Benny Hill, Bernard Manning, Viz Comic etc.
    For one thing, Victorian times were an age of great hypocrisy in which 'respectable' gentlemen frequented prostitutes, secretly, on a massive scale. Just read the eye-watering statistics about the proportion of young women in London who were engaged in prostitution. Mrs Beeton, of cook book fame, was infected with syphilis by Mr Beeton, of which she died. That Victorian rogue 'Walter' recounts his innumerable escapades in his bragging volume 'My Secret Life'. In the 18th century, James Boswell, biographer of Samuel Johnson, is similarly forthright.
    I think that a lot of Victorian prudery was related to religion, just as 1950s Italian or Irish prudery was related to catholicism. In fact, although, Georgian bawdiness is celebrated, that also was 'officially' a prudish society, as writings by magistrates, legislators etc of that time attest.
    I think it was more of a case of 'dual morality', public and private.

    The prints of the famed artist Hogarth are very much morality tales.

    For one thing, Victorian times were an age of great hypocrisy in which ‘respectable’ gentlemen frequented prostitutes, secretly, on a massive scale. Just read the eye-watering statistics about the proportion of young women in London who were engaged in prostitution.

    I wonder how it compares to, say, Hollywood.

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  162. anon says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @dfordoom

    However, by including this “right” in a written constitution, the illusion is created that the right is granted by the government and, therefore, can also be withdrawn by the government (in our case, “the people”).
     
    That's the key point. It's a very European concept - that the people have no rights and no liberties other than those that the government decides to grant them. And the government therefore can take away such rights and liberties if it so chooses.

    The English concept is that the people have unlimited rights and liberties, other than those that the government may at times decide to restrict. And the people can therefore demand the return of such liberties if it is no longer necessary for them to be restricted.

    It's the difference between the European outlook which is essentially authoritarian and the English outlook that is based on individual freedom.

    The English concept is that the people have unlimited rights and liberties, other than those that the government may at times decide to restrict.

    Yes, and the current political class are trying to bury the memory of this fundamental difference.

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    • Replies: @dfordoom

    Yes, and the current political class are trying to bury the memory of this fundamental difference.
     
    And unfortunately they are succeeding because most people are simply unaware of that crucial difference.
  163. @anon

    The English concept is that the people have unlimited rights and liberties, other than those that the government may at times decide to restrict.
     
    Yes, and the current political class are trying to bury the memory of this fundamental difference.

    Yes, and the current political class are trying to bury the memory of this fundamental difference.

    And unfortunately they are succeeding because most people are simply unaware of that crucial difference.

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  164. @Formerly CARealist
    I just happen to be reading Little Women right now, published in 1868. I'm enjoying it far more than I thought I would, but it's probably too girly for most of the guys here. The characters are real people and they draw me in to their lives and hearts. The setting sounds fairly close to how my grandmother (b. 1895) lived when she was a girl, with servants for the middle class and plenty of sewing all the time.

    (Aside from my main point. How has the decline of sewing skills affected modern women? Have we become collectively less detailed and more impatient? Has the disappearance of household servants made up for it?)

    Okay, main point. Little Women is basically taking a works salvation point of view for the characters' lives. Being good means doing good, and doing good requires strenuous effort, force of will, and constant mortification. Oh, there's mention of God's grace, but the emphasis is all on our possible (or impossible) goodness. If they do anything bad, there's plenty of guilt and deliberate good deed-doing to make up for it. Isn't this the essence of Victorianism and the beginnings of modern liberalism? Believing that we can make people be good enough for their own salvation?

    Little Women is basically taking a works salvation point of view for the characters’ lives. Being good means doing good, and doing good requires strenuous effort, force of will, and constant mortification. Oh, there’s mention of God’s grace, but the emphasis is all on our possible (or impossible) goodness. If they do anything bad, there’s plenty of guilt and deliberate good deed-doing to make up for it. Isn’t this the essence of Victorianism and the beginnings of modern liberalism? Believing that we can make people be good enough for their own salvation?

    Couldn’t agree more. Important strains of the Christian heresy that is modern/postmodern liberalism can indeed be traced back to the Vickies. Victorian pride in human achievement corroded and sidelined the Christian sin-and-redemption story. The Victorians were perhaps not responsible for setting the matches that ignited the bonfire of western cultural capital, but they stoked that fire with the seemingly inexhaustible stores of fuel they inherited.

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  165. @Mr. Anon
    "OT, but perhaps Steve can mine some meditation on achievement and attempts to achieve equality of outcome in academia out of this:

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/startswithabang/2016/01/15/what-all-the-harassment-stories-in-astronomy-really-mean/#2715e4857a0b4b3f08c32ccc"

    This is Tailhook for the sciences. Look for women to start exploiting this to gain entry to science faculties via sex-based set-asides, rather than merit. Jobs for the girls allround.

    [Look for women to start exploiting this to gain entry to science faculties via sex-based set-asides, rather than merit.]

    Start?

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  166. @Vinay
    "Now they have to figure out how to undo decades of first-amendment-absolutist precedent of their own creation...A lot of it also is that it’s the first amendment. If it had been the sixth or twelfth amendment I don’t think people would take it nearly so seriously."

    Nicely summed up. Incidentally, conservatives seem to be much better at making dramatic U-turns in messaging and are not nearly so hampered by their past positions.

    At the risk of sounding smug, I think it's because liberals have had a long winning streak of having their beliefs (anti-imperialism, anti-racism, women's rights, gay rights etc.) turn into conventional wisdom, without ever needing to reverse themselves. Conservatives have had lots of practice in abandoning supposedly cherished principles to accommodate reality.

    Re: “At the risk of sounding smug, I think it’s because liberals have had a long winning streak of having their beliefs (anti-imperialism, anti-racism, women’s rights, gay rights etc.) turn into conventional wisdom, without ever needing to reverse themselves. Conservatives have had lots of practice in abandoning supposedly cherished principles to accommodate reality.”

    That’s pretty funny, because from where I’m sitting, Liberalism is pretty obviously surrendering to religious fundamentalism. I refer, to course, Islam.

    So, I wish the multiculturalists, feminists, homosexuals, militant atheists, anti-imperialists and, of course, Jews, the very best of luck when they have to, er, “accommodate reality.”

    They’re going to need it.

    As Margaret Thatcher said, the facts of life are conservative.

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  167. @John Derbyshire
    "Excuse me, young lady, do you like Kipling?"
    "Oooh, I don't know, you naughty boy! I've never kippled."

    A pretty clever twofer:

    The woman pretends he’s making a sexual offer by feigning ignorance and, at the same time, fraudulently declaims her virginity.

    Gill understood the female sex quite well, it seems.

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  168. @SFG
    So...what do you think he was up to? Wanted to put some air between himself and the far right for the benefit of Europe, or is something more complicated that I would never think of because I know nothing about Hungary going on?

    NPI was trying to network with Jobbik, which is the only serious competition Fidesz has. Fidesz has done about as much as it can to ensure it’ll never be voted out, but presumably they’re still worried. PR must have also been a factor, but NPI stuck its dick in a hornets’ nest.

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