Wednesday, January 31, 2024



Sculleries are back. From Martha Stewart:

As a small room adjacent to the kitchen, a scullery has historically been used for cooking preparation and cleaning up, leading it to be commonly classified as an "overflow kitchen." It may also be used for storing kitchenware like plates, bowls, and silverware, plus kitchen gadgets and appliances. Sometimes, it has been used as a space for other housework like laundry and ironing.

Sculleries and butler's pantries serve similar purposes, but there are a few key differences. "A scullery historically served as a utility space for washing and cleaning kitchen items," says Emma Kemper, interior designer and founder of Emma Beryl Interiors. "It is frequently equipped with a sink and focused on practical tasks. In contrast, a butler's pantry is more of a storage and serving area, often located between the kitchen and dining room, facilitating the seamless serving of meals.”

A butler’s pantry is devoted to getting meals ready to serve so the actual kitchen remains polished. These were typically found in wealthier homes, estates, and manors and offered a convenient location to store the family’s fine china. Sculleries remain focused on the actual preparation of the meal and cleaning. "The scullery seems to be more 'back-of-the-kitchen,' perhaps akin to a mud room for the kitchen with a lot more storage," says John A. Buscarello, ASID, certified interior designer and professor at the New York School of Interior Design. (Read more.)



Did Biden Intentionally Cause the Border Crisis?

 Well, it certainly seems that way. From Fox News:

The House Judiciary Committee issued a report recently on the Biden administration’s record-breaking undocumented immigrant apprehensions and releases at the border, and its refusal to enforce the immigration laws in the interior of the country. The report questions whether the administration intentionally caused the border crisis. It certainly does seem to be intentional.

When President Joe Biden was campaigning for the presidency, he promised that he would swiftly reverse the Trump administration’s border policies. Then he walked back that promise at a press conference a month before beginning his presidency. He told the reporters that he would establish a more humane policy at the border, but that his administration would need "probably the next six months" to prepare for the transition. Terminating Trump’s border security and interior enforcement measures without the necessary preparations, he said, could lead to having "2 million people on our border."

But he did it anyway. On Day One of his presidency, he rescinded the so-called Muslim travel ban; revoked Trump’s enforcement priorities; terminated border wall construction; and suspended enrollments in the Remain in Mexico Program. Then his administration resumed the catch-and-release practice that Trump had ended whereby illegal border crossers are apprehended and then released into the United States. The Border Patrol apprehended nearly 6 million illegal crossers from the beginning of the Biden presidency on January 20, 2021, through September 30, 2023, and released more than 3.3 million of them into the country. Approximately, 99.7% are still here. It currently is releasing more than 85% of the illegal crossers it apprehends.

The release figures would have been higher if the administration had not turned people away more than 2.3 million times pursuant to Title 42, which required border officials to expel illegal crossers to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The administration also has taken steps to ensure that the illegal crossers it admits will be able to stay in the United States. It replaced the removal provisions in the Immigration and Nationality Act with its own guidelines which shield illegal crossers from being put in removal proceedings once they have reached the interior of the country.

According to DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, "The fact an individual is a removable noncitizen therefore should not alone be the basis of an enforcement action against them." He has limited enforcement measures to deportable migrants who pose a threat to national security, public safety and border security. (Read more.)

On George Orwell

 From Nicholas Reid at Reid's Reader:

All of Orwell’s novels are in some ways polemical (and his non-fiction is certainly polemical.). Burmese Days condemns colonialism. A Clergyman’s Daughter has a go at many things - a fading Anglican church, the nastiness of cheap private schools, exploitation of workers in the hop fields and poverty in London. Keep the Aspidistra Flying targets both pretentious literary people and the advertising industry. Coming Up For Air laments both the decay of English countryside and the growing militarism that is preceding a coming war. And of course you already know how polemic Animal Farm and 1984 are. Orwell always has a “message” clearly spelt out. I also find it interesting that every one of his novels ends with defeat for the main character. John Florey commits suicide in Burmese Days. Dorothy Hare, after all her wild journeys, goes back to doing good works in her father’s parish in A Clergyman’s Daughter. Gordon Comstock gives up the arty-literary life he took to, and returns to the advertising agency he had escaped in Keep the Aspidistra Flying. George Bowling is completely disillusioned by his journey to his childhood town and returns to his nagging wife in Coming Up For Air. And you all know that the animals in Animal Farm are stuck with their horrible regime, while at the end of 1984, Winston Smith truly loves Big Brother. 
I am bemused by the way Orwell leaves his protagonists in defeat. Does this mean that he was basically a pessimist? Or was he simply always facing the reality that most people have to get on with their lives, happy endings are rare, and there is not one great revolution coming along fix things? I have noticed that, while Hollywood cranks out happy endings in frivolous movies, it is especially in totalitarian countries that earnest films have happy endings, usually concluding with the state and its ideology neatly fixing things. (Over the years, I have been able to see some Stalinist Russian films that were made to this formula.)  While Orwell wanted to improve the world, he was not a Utopian and was fully aware that making things better was going to be a long, hard struggl 
A difficulty in all Orwell’s novels is that, from Burmese Days to 1984, his narrative always hinges on just one main person. His novels are never told in the first-person but they might as well be. In this respect, Orwell’s novels are very like most of the novels of H. G. Wells [look him up in the index at right ]. It is well-known that Orwell liked books written in the Edwardian era (it is an Edwardian society George Bowling is futilely seeking in Coming Up For Air ) and he admired much of Wells’ earlier work. What it means, though, is we are getting one [usually male] character’s perspective. There is a real single-mindedness in Orwell’s work with an inability to step inside the minds of characters other than the protagonist. Hence a degree of flatness. 
It is easier to categorise  Orwell’s non-fiction. In descriptions of places and people he is often a master, but two of his non-fictions are very poorly organised.  Down and Out in Paris and London and  The Road to Wigan Pier are both made of two incompatible halves. Down and Out in Paris and London appears to have been patched together to pad out a book that was regarded by his publisher as too short. The Road to Wigan Pier yields some of the best reportage Orwell ever wrote, but the second half is a rambling, often vague essay about socialism and types of people. It’s a mess and his publisher hated it. Only Homage to Catalonia stands up well as a unified and perfectly purposeful narrative. I regret that Orwell did not have the opportunity to write more in the same vein. 
How do I sum up Orwell? He is certainly very readable, but his work does not amount to a great classic. It is very, very interesting to read about the times and places he depicts. He enlightens us on the era in which he lived. I do not believe he was a prophet as some of his most fervent admirers suggest; but he was absolutely right to call out a totalitarian idea which gullible people in the democracies had embraced. In the end, his work is most interesting not as literature but as history. Which, for all his flat characters, means he is still important. (Read more.)


Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Execution of Charles I

He conducted himself with composure and gave his cloak to Dr Juxon, the Bishop of London, saying,“I go from to corruptible to an incorruptible crown where no disturbance can be.” He lay full length, placed his head on a low block and with one strike the executioner severed his head from his body.When he died a great groan went through the crowd.“Such a groan by thousands then present, as I never heard before and I desire I may never hear again.” (Read more.)


On Charles' widow, HERE. My novel on the royal couple, HERE.


Two podcasts by author Mark Turnbull on the the trial and death of the King.



The Emerging Populist Majority

 From The National Pulse:

In many ways, the Trump coalition that would shock the political world in the biggest upset in American presidential politics since 1948 is a combination of Pat Buchanan’s primary challenge and Ross Perot’s candidacy and issues. The first vote for president that Donald Trump would ever receive was actually from Perot’s political party that launched and then was unable to find any sort of successor—the Reform Party in California. Both Buchanan and Trump were possible candidates in 2000 for that nomination. All of this occurred before Trump switched his registration to Democratic in New York, among six other party switches in that closed primary state. Yet despite all those switches there remains a remarkable clarity and consistency on the actual issues and vision. The future anti-Trump coalition are those most committed to the globalization consensus that became established after the 1992 election, which was then brought into hyperdrive and defended by the party establishments of both the Democrats and the Republicans.

The Third Civic Order was articulated as needing to make the world safe for democracy, and in the twenty-first century, the more democracy would begin to slip into a recession after the first few years of the War on Terror, the harder it would become to maintain the consensus. Consider the 1992 election results but between only the two challengers to the incumbent (see the map below). (Read more.)



 From Stephanie Mann:

Its first use as a noun in England occurred in 1528 (as in, "He is a Papist") according to Merriam-Webster; as an adjective in 1562 (as in, "He has Papist loyalties"). In 1528, William Tyndale had written and published The Obedience of the Christian Man, which advocated Caesorapapism (the monarch's control of the church in his realm) and the Divine Right of Kings. Anne Boleyn persuaded Henry VIII to read the book and he was influenced by it. In 1532, the Convocation of Bishops agreed to the Submission of the Clergy, abdicating their rights to make ecclesiastical laws to the king and Sir Thomas More resigned as Lord Chancellor, because he would be responsible for enforcing the laws Henry VIII made.
The opposition cited by this term by English Protestants was between the English monarch (Henry VIII, Edward VI, Elizabeth I, James I, Charles I, etc., etc.) and the pope at the time (many popes, from Clement VII, to Pope St. Pius V, to Gregory VIII, to Leo XI, to Blessed Innocent XI, etc., etc.): the issue was: what divided loyalty between secular ruler cum supreme governor of the Church of England and the Pope, the Vicar of Christ, could be allowed on either side?

When Pope St. Pius V excommunicated Queen Elizabeth I and took the further step of declaring English Catholics not bound to loyalty to their monarch (in belated support of the Northern Rebellion) in 1570 (Regnans in Excelsis), he merely intensified the conflict. His successor, Pope Gregory XIII tried to dial it back by separating loyalty and obedience to the Papacy and the Catholic Church in religious matters from loyalty to the monarch and country in civil matters. Although Queen Elizabeth stated that she wanted no window into men's souls, she still wanted their total loyalty, body and soul. (Read more.)

Monday, January 29, 2024

Queen Mary's Dolls' House

 From Country Life:

Queen Mary's Dolls' House celebrates its 100th anniversary with a brand new exhibition and a reimagined display at Windsor Castle. As well as Lindisfarne Castle, Country Life’s former offices on Tavistock Street, London WC2, and numerous country houses in the Home Counties, Sir Edwin Lutyens is known for designing a miniature, four-storey Palladian villa given by the nation to Queen Mary in 1924. This year, the Royal Collection Trust celebrates the 100th anniversary of Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House with a reimagined display at Windsor Castle, which opened last week.

This extraordinary 1:12 scale replica of an Edwardian residence, complete with electricity, working lifts and running water, is not for children, but was designed as a showcase for the works of some 1,500 artists and crafts-people of the day. As such, there are Purdey shotguns, newspapers, wine resting in the cellar and the King’s red-leather dispatch box. Some 700 artists provided miniature works, such as paintings by Paul Nash and Tom Mostyn, a caricature by H. M. Bateman, fairy-tale murals in the Day Nursery by Edmund Dulac and female nudes on the ceiling of the King’s Wardrobe by Wilfrid de Gelhn. (Read more.)


More HERE.


Miscarriage of Justice

 From The National Pulse:

During the latest episode of this trial, Carroll admitted she wasn’t doing very well financially and needed to find a way to sell more books. The testimony appears to be the basis for the very first claim she ever made, in New York magazine’s The Cut, in the summer of 2019.

Far from a compelling claim, the 80-year-old writer initially laid out the story that her supposed rape occurred either in 1994, before altering the day to be “in the fall of 1995 or the spring of 1996.” She couldn’t remember the specifics. What she did remember was that she was wearing a “Donna Karan coatdress and high heels but not a coat.” She later refused to produce said coat for DNA testing despite admitting to still owning it, describing it as “unworn and unlaundered since that evening.” It later came to light that the coatdress was not made in 1994 or 1995.


Carroll has admitted that she first considered bringing a suit against Trump during a house party hosted by far-left blogger Molly Jong-Fast.

Jong-Fast, a writer for the viciously ‘Never Trump’ publications the Atlantic, the Bulwark, the Daily Beast, and Vanity Fair, is the daughter of feminist activist Erica Jong and anti-gun author Jonathan Fast. She is also the granddaughter of communist author Howard Fast.

On one evening in 2019, Jong-Fast held a celebration for Kathy Griffin at her New York home. Griffin had recently been in the news for holding up a bloodied, severed prop head of President Donald Trump, suffering public backlash which she claimed “broke” her.

But while Griffin was being pieced back together by Jong-Fast and company at the “Resistance Twitter come to life” party, lawyer George Conway, once married to Trump’s pollster Kellyanne Conway, was convincing Jean Carroll to sue Donald Trump. Conway has form in this area, once being involved with an effort to sue Bill Clinton.

According to reporter Byron York: “Conway even suggested a lawyer, Roberta Kaplan, who had co-founded a #MeToo legal defense nonprofit group called Time’s Up. Kaplan was apparently deeply committed to helping victims of sexual abuse but deeply committed to politics, too: In August 2021, she resigned from Time’s Up over sexual misconduct allegations against New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The problem was Kaplan was not standing up for victims but was “involved in an effort to discredit one of Mr. Cuomo’s alleged victims,” according to a New York Times report. The E. Jean Carroll case would be a mix of sex and politics but with a Republican villain.”

In other words, Kaplan was using Carroll as a means by which to repair her reputation, having attacked Governor Cuomo’s alleged victims. Kaplan – supposedly no relation to Judge Lewis Kaplan, who presided over the Trump case – indeed became E. Jean Carroll’s lawyer. (Read more.)


Life in the Times of Montrose and Argyll

 From Mark Turnbull:

In the year of grace 1641, Archibald Campbell, Earl of Argyll, was to have his cake and eat it. He’d sliced out the bishops from the Committee of Estates and devoured the Lords of the Articles – all royal appointees. This left Argyll de-facto leader as well as chief of Scotland’s strongest clan. A placatory King Charles I topped it off by making him a marquis. So successful was Argyll at systematically stripping the King’s power that England’s Parliament followed his recipe. Nobody came close to stopping Argyll and his Covenanters (signatories of a national pledge to defend Presbyterianism) though James Graham, Earl of Montrose, spoke out against factional control. Argyll swatted aside any such naïve outrage and set about devastating those clans neighbouring his own Campbell estates. The Ogilvy’s castle burned before the eyes of their lady and her children, fanning Montrose’s vocal opposition, which eventually had him imprisoned. Argyll was unassailable.

Four years later a civil war between King and Parliament plagued England, and it wasn’t long before Scotland was infected. Argyll and the Covenanters despatched an army to Parliament’s aid, while the newly created Marquis of Montrose formed a royalist nucleus in the highlands. But for Scotland, allegiance cut deeper than two-horse politics; the conflict pitted King, Covenanters and Clans. After two victories, Montrose and his MacDonalds, Camerons and Ogilvys went for a knockout blow to the Campbells. (Read more.)


Sunday, January 28, 2024

'A Very Regal Look at Palace Intrigue'

A review of My Queen, My Love by Julie Sara Porter at Bookworm Reviews:

This Historical Fiction novel tells of the tumultuous years in English history preceding the Civil War through the eyes of Queen Henrietta Maria of France, the Catholic wife of King Charles I. This book tells of Henrietta Maria’s early years and her marriage to Charles. It also recounts her rivalry with George Villiers, the Duke of Buckingham and the king’s best friend. The Queen and the Duke vie for the king’s attention, ear, and heart. 

This book is a chess match between two formidable opponents who differ in personalities, religion, ideologies, and views. Henrietta Maria is motivated by her history as a Medici and her Catholic faith. Her family line taught her about palace intrigue, how to play the court games, and to be wary of potential rivals for influence. Her faith not only gives her solace but gives the British Catholics much longed for representation. 

Villiers also has his own motivations. He had a history of developing connections with Charles’ family. He had been the friend and lover of Charles’ father James I. He thinks of the younger king as a kid brother who needs his influence. He also is incredibly ambitious and wants to move upwards in society. Henrietta Maria and George Villiers are equally matched opponents with Charles and the entire kingdom in the middle. 

My Queen My Love is a very regal look at palace intrigue and the love and loyalties of the monarch and those around them. It begins with a rivalry between two individuals and eventually will escalate into a war that will envelop the whole country. (Read more.)


Are We Headed for Civil War?


"You find out who I am very soon." From The Western Journal:

The illegal immigrant in this viral video seems to be alluding to an upcoming catastrophic event that will provide him notoriety. His words are vile and promissory. And he just crossed the border “at No More Death Camp, about 12 miles east from Sasabe,” Arizona, according to Joe Felix of 1strespondersmedia on X. Felix is an independent journalist who holds press credentials. He came upon this illegal immigrant over the weekend at the southern border, where he entered the United States with zero regard for procedure or our laws. He joins millions of illegal immigrants who have invaded the United States since President Joe Biden took office. There is a big difference, however, between many of the others and this man. This man is eloquent, angry, driven, and threatening. Most others can barely speak English. This means that this man has been educated for a reason. What that could be most likely can’t be good for Americans. In the comments shared by Felix on X alongside the video, Felix noted, “A migrant who illegally crossed into the United States threatened me, saying ‘You find out who I am very soon,’ simply because I asked him where he was from. These are the people @AliMayorkas @POTUS @DHSgov and @CBP are letting in.” (Read more.)


How (Not) to Run an Art Competition

 From Daniel Mitsui at Dappled Things:

Sometimes aspiring artists come to me for advice. There is one thing that I tell all of them. Please pay attention to this: If you are a fine artist working as an independent contractor, making wholly original work, never give up your intellectual property rights.

Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, give up your intellectual property rights.

To anyone. Not to a patron, not to a publisher, certainly not to a prize committee. If anyone asks you to sell, transfer, or relinquish the copyright to your artwork, say politely that you never do this, but that you are willing to negotiate a license for the purposes he or she requires. Most patrons and publishers will accept this and work out the license with you. Avoid doing business with anyone who pushes back and insists on getting the copyright from you. Giving up a copyright essentially means that in the eyes of the law, the person who obtains it made the artwork and can do whatever he or she wants with it — and you didn’t, and can’t.

The intellectual property rights to a work of art are often more valuable, in the long run, than the work itself. They may be the most valuable things, in monetary terms, that you will ever own. They are what allow you to protect the integrity of your creative vision. They are what allow you to generate passive income from your existing work, in the form of derivative works, prints, merchandise, or licenses for reproduction. And they can continue to do this for you for the rest of your life, and for your heirs long after your death (for seventy years, if you are an American). For an independent artist, the rights to your intellectual property are one of the only legal or economic advantages in your line of work. They function like your investment portfolio, your retirement fund, your legacy, your life insurance.

That anyone running a contest would ask an artist to give this away offends me deeply. Presenting it as a condition of a prize (something that the artist should be grateful to receive) strikes me as absurd. If a commission were offered to me, personally, with the same terms as this supposed prize, I would decline it immediately. (Read more.)

Saturday, January 27, 2024

Richard I: An English King or a Crusader King?


He was both. The Crusades were defensive wars to return the Holy Land to Christian hands and to save Christian pilgrims from capture, slavery, imprisonment and death. There were twelve crusades and they were each unique. The notorious Fourth Crusade gave the others a bad name. Many crusaders behaved badly but then so did the Moslems. From The Collector:

Richard was born on 8 September 1157 in Beaumont Palace, Oxford, England. He was the fourth child of King Henry II of England (r. 1154-89) and his wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine. Richard had two older brothers, William IX, Count of Poitiers, who died in infancy, and Henry the Young King, who was crowned as King of England while Henry II was still alive, but who also died before Henry II did, thus leaving Richard as heir to the English throne.

Much of Richard’s early life was spent in France with his mother, who had separated from Henry II due to claims of his adultery. In hindsight, this was a valuable move: Richard knew from an early age that being a ruler of any sort, let alone a king, meant that familiarising oneself with one’s subjects was hugely important. It also taught him that he had Plantagenet lands on the continent to protect, too. (Read more.)

The DC Swamp is Even More Corrupt Than You Can Imagine

 From Tierney's Real News:

KARI LAKE: "Democrats will cheat and do whatever they have to do to win elections but it was the Republicans who took this election from me.

Republicans run Maricopa County elections. They could not let a citizen politician come in and clean out their corrupt system - our biggest enemy right now are the Republicans on the inside working against us.

They saw how popular Trump & his candidates are and they want Trump to go away. That's what COVID was all about. That's what ALL this stuff is about.

I believe there was so much corruption in our elections across the country.

The future of America is We The People - and the sooner the GOP establishment realize that we are the future and that they should come with us - the better. We need to encourage them to do that. Let's face it - half of the establishment GOP just might be Democrats.” (Read more.)


From about a month ago, Tucker interviews MTG.


The Population of Hell

 I have found the meditations on Hell by St. Alphonsus Liguori in his Preparation for Death to be helpful in keeping the troubles of life in perspective. From First Things:

As we know from the gospels, Jesus spoke many times about hell. Throughout his preaching, he holds forth two and only two final possibilities for human existence: the one being everlasting happiness in the presence of God, the other everlasting torment in the absence of God. He describes the fate of the damned under a great variety of metaphors: everlasting fire, outer darkness, tormenting thirst, a gnawing worm, and weeping and gnashing of teeth.

In the parable of the sheep and the goats, Jesus indicates that some will be condemned. The Son of man says to the goats: “Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41). In the Gospel of John, which says comparatively little about hell, Jesus is quoted as saying: “The hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear [the Father’s] voice and come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment” (John 5:28-29).

The apostles, understandably concerned, asked: “Lord, will those who are saved be few?” Without directly answering their question Jesus replied: “Strive to enter by the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and not be able” (Luke 13:23-24). In the parallel passage from Matthew, Jesus says: “Enter by the narrow gate, for the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Matthew 7:13-14). In a parable immediately following this exchange, Jesus speaks of those who try to come to the marriage feast, but are told: “Depart from me, all you workers of iniquity. There you will weep and gnash your teeth” (Luke 13:27-28). In another parable, that of the wedding guest who is cast out for not wearing the proper attire, Jesus declares: “Many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14). Taken in their obvious meaning, passages such as these give the impression that there is a hell, and that many go there; more, in fact, than are saved. (Read more.)

Friday, January 26, 2024

The Blue Hour

  From The Marginalian:

The day ends.
The night falls.
And in between…
there is the blue hour.

We meet the famed blue morpho butterfly spreading its wings against the blue morning glory, the Arctic fox traversing the icy expanse in its blue-tinted coat, the blue poison dart frogs croaking at each other across the South American forest, the silvery-blue sardines glimmering beneath the surface of the blue ocean, the blue racer snake coiled around a branch, the various blue birds silent or singing in the gloaming hour. (Read more.)


Make America Liberal Again

 Classical liberalism, that is. From Daniel McCarthy at ISI:

Aristotle warns in Book IV of the Politics about the danger of revolution within the form, where the outward semblance of a constitution remains the same while its substance becomes something else: “the people do not easily change, but love their own ancient customs; and it is by small degrees only that one thing takes place of another; so that the ancient laws will remain, while the power will be in the hands of those who have brought about a revolution in the state.”

The reinterpretation of American history as a history of liberalism is such a revolution. Although the letter of the U.S. Constitution remains, the charter is now taught in schools as an expression of liberalism, an early and crude expression, perhaps, but a step in the long march of progress to the values and practices of today. The chief challenge to this interpretation comes not from those who view the Constitution in a pre-liberal light, but from critics who are to the left of liberalism and decry the Constitution as nothing more than an artifact of white supremacism. Confronted by that alternative, conservatives may reflexively defend the liberal ideological reading instead.

Liberal ideology itself, however, is a revolution within the form of the word “liberal.” Among liberals, this point often surfaces in conflicts between “classical liberals,” who say that the term meant one thing in the nineteenth century and should retain that older meaning today, and progressive liberals who see the liberalism of the twenty-first century as the fulfillment of what was implicit in the earlier liberalism. Both types of ideological liberal, however, downplay the earlier, non-ideological meaning of “liberal,” which related not to the politics of liberalism but to the virtue of liberality.

Liberalism is closely associated with commerce and the profit motive, but liberality is about giving, not exchange. And if it does not imply total contempt for money, liberality does mean a preference for giving it away to good purpose rather than accumulating it. Progressive liberalism is as much at odds with this virtue as market liberalism is, however: liberality, as Aristotle makes clear, requires generosity with one’s own money, not the state’s. Welfare states are not liberal. They are, in an Aristotelian light, a vicious replacement for liberality. The same might be said for much private (but equally bureaucratic) “philanthropy.”

Liberality is a mean between the extremes of prodigality and covetousness. The prodigal expends his means irresponsibly, ruining himself and perhaps others in the process. The covetous man wants to keep what wealth he has and get more—simply for the sake of getting more, and even if it means taking unjustly from others.

To be liberal, a person must have the means to support himself and his household, with enough surplus to show generosity to others. There are liberal assumptions of this kind in the economic thought of both great political factions in the early American republic. The ideal of the independent yeoman farmer in the politics of Thomas Jefferson is conducive to liberality. So, too, is the Federalist ideal of government by well-to-do burghers, the better and wealthier sort of citizen. In each case, the citizen, whether yeoman or burgher, has sufficient means to show largesse to others after his own needs and those of his family have been supplied.

What Jefferson feared was an urbanized proletariat that would be so poor, or so mean of spirit, that it could not or would not practice the virtues of the independent gentleman. The Federalists, for their part, feared mob-rule democracy, in which the covetous—including improvident and indebted farmers—would outvote the liberal. 

There is both an economic order and an ethos implied by the virtue of liberality. The economic requirement is for something resembling a prosperous middle class. A society in which there is a vast gulf between the wealthy and poor is likely to be characterized by relationships of economic dependence in which the many will not have the means to act liberally, while the few will be tempted to prodigality or mercenary expenditure, turning the recipients of generosity into subservient clients rather than (more or less) independent friends. To give with the aim of gaining power over others is the opposite of the liberal ethos. 

Liberality should also be distinguished from compassion: Aristotle emphasizes the free and spontaneous nature of liberality, which entails giving without a sense of needing to give. The pain that one feels at the plight of the poor is different from the motive behind liberality, which is a noble sense of being free from inordinate desire for money. Alms-giving can be liberal, but liberality is best characterized by giving for the sake of improvement rather than to meet anyone’s necessities. In the centuries before student loan debt, it was an archetypal act of liberality for a wealthy relation (or even non-relation) to pay for a student’s tuition. While gratitude was expected, the student did not become an employee or servant, although he might choose to work for his benefactor.

The roots of the Greek and Latin words for liberality—eleutheriotēs and liberalitas, respectively—denote the status of a free person. It’s a virtue most likely to flourish under conditions of moderate inequality: equals would be little disposed to accept gifts from one another and would benefit little by doing so; but where there is a modicum of inequality, the benefit to the recipient is meaningful, and he has reason to accept. Where there is great categorical inequality, however, a gift that is meaningful to the recipient may be trivial to the giver, signifying not his freedom from the grip of money so much as his distance from the condition of the other. Liberality is the virtue of a gentleman, not a plutocrat or a slave master.

“Liberal” democracy informed by liberality rather than liberalism is a democracy in which gentlemen of more-than-self-sufficient means exhibit generosity toward their fellow citizens, who are not a dependent class but are rather free and potentially capable of liberality themselves. This is a very different kind of democracy from that feared by many philosophers and by the American Founders, a regime in which all are covetous: the many are tempted to expropriate the wealthy few, and the few are jealous of the power with which they can protect their riches. The mitigation of the class divisions endemic to democracies in the ancient world comes about both through the cultivation of a middle class and through the liberal ethos that makes it the mark of a gentleman to be above merely pecuniary interests.

At the end of the eighteenth century, both the newborn United States and Great Britain were liberal democracies in this sense. The franchise was limited in both countries, but even in Britain the popular branch of government was effectively paramount, and the House of Commons would only gain greater power at the expense of Crown and Lords over the next two centuries. Neither country had yet to experience “liberalism” in the ideological sense, which emerged by name only in the nineteenth century. (Read more.)


The Origins of the Picts

 From Medievalists:

The Picts, a people who inhabited Scotland during the Middle Ages, have always had a sense of mystery to them. A new study using DNA has revealed new details about their origins. Historical sources first mention the Picts in the late 3rd century AD. They resisted the Romans and ruled over a large territory in northern Britain. However, around the 9th and 10th centuries the Pictish culture would decline and those lands would form into what would be the medieval kingdom of Scotland. There are different theories to the origins – were the Picts native to Britain or did they migrate from other parts of Europe?

A new study, published in PLoS Genetics, attempts to solve this question by examining Pictish burials to extract genomes to explore how the Picts are related to other cultural groups in Britain. They sequenced DNA from two individuals from central and northern Scotland that dated from the fifth to the seventh century AD. They compared the resulting high-quality genomes to more than 8,300 previously published ancient and modern genomes. (Read more.)

Thursday, January 25, 2024

Two Thatched Cottages

 One in Devon. From Country Life:

With trails from the doorstep, and within walking distance of Salcombe and the beach, Lower Soar Cottage is a dreamy Devon getaway. Surrounded by National Trust land on all sides, there is a certain comfort in knowing that the majestic scenery of Lower Soar Cottage will likely stay that way for some time. The three-bedroom cottage, listed Grade II, is in one of the most desirable parts of Devon and sits just a few fields away from Soar Mill Cove, a tiny beach that can be approached on foot from the property — what greater want can someone have in life than to be walking distance from the beach? (Read more.)


And one in Oxfordshire. Also from Country Life:

The aptly named Thatched Cottage is an excellent example of thatched period charm with plenty of style and character in a sought-after village. With three excellent pubs within walking distance—The Feathered Nest in Nether Westcote, The King’s Head in Bledington and The Hare in Milton-under-Wychwood—early-17th-century The Thatched Cottage needn’t be so pretty, but it is.... Little casement windows peep through rough coursed limestone walls, shining light on three beautifully kept bedrooms and two reception rooms, with charmingly higgledy-piggledy exposed timber, a window seat, wooden shutters and a sun room. (Read more.)



Setting The Stage: "Disease X"

 From NBL:

Since the World Economic Forum released its program for their 2024 Annual Meeting in Davos, “Disease X” has been trending non stop on the other X (formerly known as Twitter) and relayed all over the mainstream media.


Fast forward to January 2024, on the eve of the “Preparing for Disease X” panel — and on the eve of the U.S. presidential elections. We know how that turned out with the last plandemic. The Disease X narrative has been spread, and the stage has been set. So are we about to experience another plandemic? “20 times deadlier than covid”? Or is this a distracting fear campaign while another black swan event is planned? Considering 2024 is a critical year, we’re likely to see multiple disruptive events at once…Psychopath Bill Gates certainly seems very excited about the prospect of a “pandemic 2.0”, as are his WEF freak acolytes. (Read more.)


Threading the Feminist Needle

 From Carrie Gress at Law and Liberty:

One of my goals in The End of Woman is to go beyond an understanding of woman as more than an “adult female human.” This is true of course, but it is not sufficient. I offer the long-held idea of motherhood (including psychological and spiritual) as a defining characteristic of womanhood. Matthew says, however, that calling women mothers is reductionist. Yet this ultimately denies the possibility to effectively speak of the nature of things. There must be a starting place. To say that women are mothers does not mean that women are only mothers or that motherhood looks the same for every woman. That would reduce a woman to doing. What needs to be captured is the essential nature of something, what something is, as being, and to move forward from that starting place. Ethics, which is the study of what we do, must start from what something is, from metaphysics, or the study of being. Thomas Aquinas, when speaking of the natural law, begins with human nature to derive the natural law precepts. Without a robust metaphysics to articulate what a woman is, defining womanhood can only come from what a woman does, which can usher in a host of dangers, particularly relativism, and the claim that men, too, can be women because they can do what women do.

Perhaps the reason for Matthew’s belief that attributing motherhood to women is “reductive and fundamentally infantilizing” is because feminism, for fifty years, has restricted our culture to saying precious little about the goodness of motherhood. Since the early 1900s, the word “drudgery” was used synonymously with motherhood by many feminists, with a masculine style of behavior given preference; again, the idea, “How do we make women more like men?” Matthew reveals this point at the end of her review when she declares that she is “the primary caregiver” to her three young sons. What is striking is that she somehow considers motherhood, in the form of loving and nurturing, to be reductive and infantilizing but calling herself a primary caregiver is somehow not reductive and infantilizing. The commonality of masculine idolization has been so absorbed by our culture that we can scarcely discern how much we are destroying womanhood by trying to avoid the concept of motherhood.

Primary caregiver is a pallid replacement for the word mother, as we can see in the example of Mary Godwin Shelley’s life. Her mother, Mary Wollstonecraft, died 10 days after Mary Godwin was born. Her father, William Godwin, later remarried, giving Mary Godwin a primary caregiver. However, the hole left by her mother’s death was one that never seemed to be filled, even by her primary caregiver: Mary Godwin Shelley’s writing skills were born as she learned the alphabet by tracing the letters on her mother’s tomb and culminated in her most famous work, Frankenstein, which some argue was about losses in her life, particularly that of her mother. This is certainly not to say that adoptive mothers are somehow not mothers, but that Mary Jane Godwin could never fill the hole left by Mary Wollstonecraft in her daughter’s life. Regardless, mothers are not simply workers to do things for us, but unique individuals with whom we are meant to be in deep and meaningful relationships.

Motherhood’s lean reputation developed as feminists emphasized the service and demands it requires, even presenting it as a form of codependency or simplemindedness. As Matthew appreciates, however, motherhood—to be done well—requires growth in virtue and a turning away from our vicious self-centeredness, as we witness in the mature Jo March of Little Women, of whom Matthew conjectures I would disapprove. I take no issue with what Matthew calls March’s unwomanly heart, having sought many of the same things Jo pursued in her young life. In the end, as many women do among the various seasons of life, Jo finds her deepest flourishing not only in her writing, but in her marriage to Mr. Baer, raising her children, and creating a warm home for boys where she exercises not only her intellectual gifts but nurturing and care. (Read more.)

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Kistchy Kitchens

 From Better Homes and Gardens:

The past few years have seen the rise of all things maximalist and eclectic in home trends, from dopamine decor to cottagecore, and according to Pinterest, that’s not set to change in 2024. According to the 2024 Pinterest Predicts report, kitschy kitchens—aka kitschens—are here to replace your refined dining area. The pinning platform found that search terms like “eclectic kitchen decor,” “kistchy kitchens,” and “eccentric kitchens” are trending, demonstrating the desire to bring some fun and nostalgia to a traditionally utilitarian space. With retro styles making a comeback across interior design, experts aren’t surprised that the kitchen is the next room to get the kitsch treatment. (Read more.)


What is a peninsula kitchen layout? From Homes and Gardens:

 If you've been researching kitchen ideas for your next home project, you've probably come across the peninsula kitchen layout. This design is a classic – featuring a set of cabinets and a work surface that protrudes from a wall, it's essentially a thin island that's attached to the rest of the kitchen at one end.

Commonplace in smaller kitchens and dual-purpose spaces to create a visual divide, peninsula kitchens are becoming a go-to layout thanks to their versatility, and, let's not forget, they create the feel of a kitchen island in rooms that perhaps wouldn't suit that pretty space-reliant design.

If you're considering a peninsula kitchen in your own home but aren't sure if it's the right fit, we spoke to interior designers and kitchen experts to find out everything there is to know about this kitchen design style. (Read more.)

From Design Milk:

Danish brand Vipp, renowned for its 85-year tradition of metalwork and most notably their iconic trash bins, introduces their latest kitchen design that’s a perfect testament to the company’s legacy. Crafted with aluminum, the V3 kitchen is a modular masterpiece that seamlessly merges functionality with minimalist aesthetics, marking a new chapter in Vipp’s storied journey. Wrapped in naturally anodized aluminum, the freestanding modules boast vertically extruded profiles that gracefully curve, infusing a light elegance into the metallic landscape. Vipp CEO Kasper Egelund describes it as “a unique kitchen that feels like a sculptural piece on its own.” (Read more.) 

The World Economic Forum Recap

 People we did not elect (and who are not even American) are planning our children's futures.


The people behind these decisions aren't driven by a desire to improve humanity. These are totalitarian vampires, who live their lives by one rule and expect everyone else to submit to a suffocating regime of anti-human, anti-liberty rules. Their primary goal is twofold, and they haven’t been shy in the past about expressing it. Total enslavement and control of the plebeian population for an interim period until their second goal - depopulation, has time to take effect. As I’ve written about previously, the ideal number of people on Earth is 500M according to the Davos Demons. That leaves about 7.5B of us too many, a modest 90% haircut from today’s numbers. The reality that these people seek to exert extensive control over every facet of our lives isn't a novel concept. What is strikingly new, however, is the sheer audacity with which they now openly discuss these intentions.

Here were the lowlights from Davos:
  • John Kerry tells the world that it doesn’t matter who is President of the US or leader of your country. You cannot stop the insane climate hysteria policies and climate change totalitarianism we are implementing.
  • German leader Ursula Von Der Leyen tells Davos her biggest concern is not climate change or war but ‘misinformation’. Here she is explaining how governments are going to unabashedly censor speech to make sure there’s no wrong think that leaks to the public. By misinformation she actually means true information that the predator caste doesn’t want you to know. I want to state unequivocally that my grandfathers did not risk their lives and the horrors of war to fight the Nazis so that a German woman could tell me what I can or cannot say. Their sacrifices were for the preservation of freedom, including the fundamental right to speak freely, a principle I stand firmly to uphold.
  • John Evans getting all horned up over Chinese-style social credit scoring systems that are being worked on. Are you ready to be tagged and tracked, maggot?
  • WEF member JoJo Mehta claims that farming and fishing is “ecocide” and demands that it be recognized as a “serious crime.”

Abuse Victim Calls Cardinal's Book 'Filth'

[WARNING: Sensitive Material] From Christine Niles at Forward Boldly:

More from Faith Hakesly, HERE. Share

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Napoleon (2023)

Napoleon Bonaparte: I found the crown of France in the gutter. I picked it up with the tip of my sword and cleaned it, and placed it atop my own head. ~from Napoleon (2023)

Anytime a film is trashed by the Left it only makes me more curious to see what made them clutch their pearls. Yes, I know that Napoleon was not at Marie-Antoinette's execution and that in reality her hair was cut short and she wore white. And yet Marie-Antoinette is ritualistically and metaphorically dragged through the mud in most recent films and not one critic cares. So I finally was able to see Napoleon (2023) on Prime and found it to be a masterpiece, especially where sets, costumes and battle scenes are concerned. The scene where Napoleon and Josephine enter the Tuileries is a wonder. It really looks like the Tuileries, which was torn down after the Paris Commune in 1871. The coronation scene was magnificent and could have been a film in itself. And the soundtrack was a combination of classical composers with revolutionary chants as well as a moving original score. Why do the Wokesters hate it? Because it shows a confident man, a man's man, changing history? Leading troops into battle and valuing his soldiers? It is true that Napoleon, following the precedent begun by Louis XVI, chose people for offices and commands based upon merit rather than birth, and by so doing broke with long-standing tradition. Our current Woke Revolutionaries want to choose people for jobs based upon skin color or gender, as long as it is an oppressed skin color or gender. So naturally, a film about a successful white man conquering solely by his wits and military skill is an anathema to them.

I do think that Ridley Scott made the relationship between Napoleon and Josephine more brutish than it actually was; Napoleon came from Corsica but he was not a peasant. For that matter, peasants can be romantic and even write love songs. Napoleon's rough love-making was out of character on many levels. I am not saying he was not occasionally overcome by passion but I cannot see him being a beast. And Scott does not understand the charm, refinement and coquetry of a lady like Josephine which enchanted Napoleon, and everyone else. She could be seductive without being as vulgar and whorish as Scott imagines her. Especially with a subtle actress like Vanessa Kirby, who is entrancing in the role and does not need to be coarse in order to be sexy.

But to return to Napoleon and Marie-Antoinette... Napoleon was no where near Paris when Marie-Antoinette was killed. However, Scott begins the film with the spectacle of Marie-Antoinette and her two children hiding in a linen cupboard in the Tuileries while the palace is being ransacked by an angry mob. Then he cuts to the scene of Marie-Antoinette being publicly degraded on her way to death. While Napoleon was not there he heard about it, as did all of France. The Queen's murder was the subject of pamphlets, plays and even comedies, as is shown in the film. But her fate and that of her children haunted many. So when Napoleon gravitates to a forlorn, helpless widow with two children, it is not completely surprising. That he then spends his career trying to make that widow a queen, or more than a queen, an empress, is interesting. And that he eventually marries Marie-Antoinette's own niece is beyond irony. In the film the girl playing Marie-Louise resembles her not at all. Marie-Louise was tall and fair like most of the other Habsburgs, like Marie-Antoinette. What the film does not say is that the marriage contract Napoleon sent to Vienna was the exact contract used to arrange the marriage of the Dauphin Louis (Louis XVI) with the Austrian Archduchess Maria Antonia (Marie-Antoinette). And yet there can be no doubt that he really loved Josephine, for he died saying her name.

Napoleon is a film about an enigmatic man and an enigmatic woman who brought each other passion and fame and then died separated by years and by miles. Each built on the legends that had gone before, becoming legends in their own right. They came to power on the tide of a Revolution meant to bring perfect equality, obtaining a higher rank than any French rulers since Charlemagne. Such irony is at the heart of the Bonaparte mythos, and perhaps the foundation of the power of our contemporary elites, who speak to us of liberty, equality and fraternity while amassing great wealth and power. And as they do so, they are forging our chains.

Of course, the French hate the film. From The New Yorker:

Americans are so used to seeing history played by Americans that the oddity of it hardly registers anymore. Charlton Heston was the Spanish El Cid and the Hebrew Egyptian Moses and the Judean Ben-Hur—believe it or not, he won an Oscar for that one—and his Midwestern accents were taken for granted whomever he played and wherever the character was supposed to have lived.

And why not? No one expects the actors in a production of “Julius Caesar” to speak good Latin. Fiction is the premise of all fictions, and that simple truth, along with the (perhaps declining) companion truth that, for the most part, movie stars are made in America, is enough to explain the phenomenon. Indeed, the whole point and rationale—the raison d’être, as we say in English—of the theatrical arts is to extend our circles of compassion through acts of creative empathy: we want people who are unlike the characters they play to inhabit them so that in acts of sympathetic resonance we too expand ourselves. It’s why we love Laurence Olivier’s Shylock, or, for that matter, Russell Crowe’s gladiator.

Yet, when one has something, if no more than a big toe, resting in another culture, the oddity resonates. Though Joaquin Phoenix plays Napoleon, for the most part ably, in Ridley Scott’s much talked-of new movie of the Emperor’s life and battles, it’s still disconcerting that he says his lines not only in English but more or less with exactly the same accents—and using exactly the same slightly paralyzed set of expressions—with which he inhabited Johnny Cash. The cast of his character remains the cast of his character, which, in classic movie-star manner, Phoenix adjusts but does not significantly vary from role to role; he is no Lon Chaney, nor nearly an Olivier, inventing a new face and voice for each role.

This oddity has not been missed in the French reception to the film. Almost all French commentators italicize the ambiguities of Napoleon’s historical role—was he the reincarnation of Alexander the Great or the sinister precursor of Hitler? Perhaps the sole exception is the far-right polemicist and onetime Presidential candidate Éric Zemmour, who contributed a laudatory story to the far-right magazine Valeurs Actuelles with the cover line “L’empereur anti-woke.” “Woke” has become, however improbably, an omnipresent borrowed word in French polemics, particularly on the anti-American far right. You might suppose that those who believe that America is colonizing French culture would find a French word around which to organize their disdain, but they don’t. They use the American word—disdainfully, but they do. It’s as if, in anti-French polemics, we insisted on condemning their undue sang-froid. Apparently, no one has stopped to consider the power of a culture that forced you to borrow its language to condemn it.

But most of the arguments against “Napoleon” were about language in another way, and more nettled. “The film is not troubled by the fact that these two . . . warring factions speak the same language (English), which never ceases to feel odd,” a film critic at Le Monde wrote. “Directed by a Briton who has long reigned over Hollywood, Napoleon is a film that essentially reminds us that the Empire has changed hands since Waterloo.” (With that slightly gnomic formula, the critic means that Hollywood runs the world as once the French did.) One can, to be sure, only imagine how Americans would feel seeing a wildly expensive and elaborate movie made about the life of Abraham Lincoln with Gérard Depardieu in the lead, and with wartime Washington perfectly realized and Gettysburg thrillingly re-created, but with everyone from bedroom to battlefield muttering and roaring in guttural French and using idiomatic French expressions to summon up the American ones—“Ah, alors!,” “Sacré bleu,” “Monsieur le President,” and so on. Such a film would convey the surreal cultural dislocation, not to mention unintended comedy, that “Napoleon” provokes in native French speakers. This is not so much a vexed issue of cultural appropriation as a more straightforward one of comic incongruity. Though languages do not, in truth, enclose singular domains of meaning, there are still patterns of behavior, ways of addressing the world, acculturated norms of discourse and style, that affect all members of a linguistic practice.

To take one subtle and circular example, the French aristocrats in “Napoleon” are played mostly by English actors affecting upper-crust English accents that rather betray the equivalent speech pattern in French, which is not clipped and reserved but sonorous and rhetorically sinuous. (The foreign minister Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand would not hesitate to orate at his emperor, rather than interrogate him politely, as he does here.) That rhetorical tone of French conversation—still dominant now, and overwhelming in the very rhetorical early nineteenth century—is dislodged by the clipped manner of those Brits, not to mention the Method-y pauses and mumblings with which Phoenix works, in a style that is eerily Brando-esque. (Who also once undertook to play Napoleon.)

But this means that, when an actual British upper-cruster, in this case the Duke of Wellington, played by Rupert Everett, appears, he has to go way over the top in order to distinguish himself from the clipped Brits playing the French. He has to become a kind of outrageous caricature of English upper-crustness, all snorts and sneers, so that (this is the circular bit) he ends up performing exactly like the horse-faced and humorless Brits traditionally caricatured by the French, as in, for instance, the Astérix comics. (Read more.)

Historical inaccuracies, HERE. And author Sandra Gulland discusses why Josephine was infertile, HERE.


The Adversity of Diversity

Glenn Loury & Carol Swain