Friday 22 May 2020


From an email from a reader with a Canadian great-grandmother:

"You might tell your readers that the first American to respond to your reminiscences did so by saying that Canada ought not to exist, and if he had ever been president it would have been invaded and subdued in the blink of an eye."  

From the point of view of a free and sovereign people, this was an extraordinary thing to say, so I indicated that my country would not, in fact, have been subdued in the blink of an eye but would have put up a protracted defence, one in which women and children took an active part. 

The answer to this was, "Just freeing you from your unwanted British overlords, Ma'am."

Extraordinary. However, it is not unprecedented for I was once told by a fellow student in Boston that the USA allowed my country to retain her independence "on sufferance." 

I wonder if anyone ever says this to Mexicans? At any rate, I highly recommend no-one ever say this to a Pole, for he would be duty-bound to punch you in the snoot. 

I found the concept of "theatrocracy" in Chapter 8 of Integralism, "Forms of Polity." Chapter 8 impresses upon the reader that this really is not a beach book. It is, rather, a text book, and if you are a student of either Fr. Crean and Dr. Fimister, the way forward is to write down all the theses on cue cards and memorise them for exams. However, the book is also a good training for minds gone soft and squidgy from the internet. 

The entertainments of this Chapter are few, unless you find the appalling strangeness of Thomas Hobbes entertaining. I should not have invited him to dinner parties myself. There is much discussion of monarchy, aristocracy, democracy and mixtures of all three. "Theatrocracy" turns up right at the end, and it is great fun for reflection. 

"Finally, Plato coined the term 'theatrocracy' to describe a city where poets had corrupted the judgements of the citizens by vicious music. We may borrow that word and use it more generally to describe a state of affairs where men are ruled by those who possess the means of mass communication, and who by dint of frequent repetition cause them to believe whatever these rulers desire, even the most absurd or shameful things," write the authors. 

This is quite obviously our current state of affairs, and I remember my dear mother lambasting me for the amount of time I spent seeking manufactured entertainment. Entertainment is addictive, and indeed a useful carrot for tempting the undisciplined through dull but worthy or necessary work. However, entertainment also lulls the mind into a state of receptivity. This was not terrible when the primary form of entertainment was Sunday sermons (and in Edinburgh of the 1960s, both Catholics and Protestants went to more than one church service on Sundays, for there was as yet nothing else to do). However,  the primary form of entertainment is now "vicious music," if not internet p/r/on or spectacles published on Youtube or Netflix.

Meanwhile, I believe America's about-face on homosexuality was caused by the television show "Will and Grace" and by the film Philadelphia. Tim Curry in Rocky Horror was nothing on Tom Hanks in Philadelphia when it came to winning hearts and minds. Ru Paul's Drag Race is currently teaching children to throw off the shackles of gender conformity, modesty and taste. 

But I would be remiss if I did not talk about The News, especially as I work in The News. I read The News every day, so that I can pass along the most pertinent information to pro-life, pro-family readers, and I find sorting out truth from falsehood a difficult and dispiriting task lately. Whenever I read the MSM coronavirus "news," it tempts me to the heretical despair of believing that the truth cannot be known, for it is drowned in a torrent of supposition, rumour, error, and calculated self-interest. 

For the record, I do not believe either B.A. or I will either die or become very ill of coronavirus, and while obeying the temporal authority, I refuse to live in fear anymore. I still believe that the elderly, the asthmatic, and those who work in hospitals and care homes should be particularly cautious, however. I don't envy those who live in either London or New York.   

Another interesting word that leapt out at me was "Suffrage", for I was longing to know if I would still have the vote in the Integralist state. The answer is no, for I have a husband. In short, the idea is that, the building block of society being the family, heads of families represent themselves, their wives and/or their minor children. (Widows can be heads of families and, so, I imagine, could the adult orphaned sibling left in charge of his or her minor siblings.) Unmarried adult children do have the vote, which means that, in one sense, women lose the vote when they marry, but in another means that their vote is joined to their husbands', and the husband votes on both his and her behalf. 

I am sure this is all very galling if you hate your husband. However, life itself is a burden when you hate your husband, and the franchise isn't much of a comfort. 

But it is 10 AM, so I must say good-bye to Integralism and go back to The News. 


  1. Well, it's this Canadian's opinion that the American Revolution was a wicked and ungodly war. Ahem.

    That's actually not why I'm commenting, though; have you ever read any Neil Postman? Your comments on theatrocracy reminded me of his excellent book Technopoly, which I recommend to you.

    1. Thank you! I have read "Amusing Ourselves to Death" and "The Disappearance of Childhood", but not "Technopoly." I will look into it, thanks!

  2. I can assure you that I have never in my life spoken to a Canadian (or any other nationality) in the same fashion as your correspondent. (Although, as an East Coaster, I semi-wonder if this person were merely being “sarcastic” for the sake of humor? Perhaps, perhaps not. I have no clue, and that matter is really between you and your correspondent. There is a [strong] tendency toward sarcastic humor among us East Coasters, but Europeans, particularly secularist / modern Germans and other liberals, sometimes appear to be too literal to understand it. Nevertheless, even with my “sarcastic” background, I can still say that I would not make such statements to a Canadian.) I must add, that, as an American, I have had far worse said to me by various Europeans, Canadians, and Austalians. I am supposed to just sit there and smile politely at professional meetings while supposedly highly educated people sip fine wine and excoriate my country, which they rarely (never) know as well as they assume. Such generous and sophisticated behavior on their part! It turns one off after a while...I merely wish that people who claim a Judeo-Christian background would think twice before so easily accepting negative stereotypes of people from the US or before swallowing uncritically “media-approved” revisionist history / news.That is all I am going to say on the topic because I can see that this is pointless. I thoroughly appreciate pro-life, pro-traditionalist writing, and I have absolutely no desire to offend anyone here or to trade barbs/ bad memories. “Pax”.

    1. I'm sorry you have that experience, and you are definitely not the first American to be shocked and repelled by the rudeness of non-Americans. If isn't fair, and you are greatly to be praised for not taking the coward's way out which is to agree with the America-bashers. Americans who join in with the abuse are, I've noticed, considered good sorts.

      I have often thought that anti-Americanism in Europe stems from an objection to American foreign policy, not from a deep dislike of actual Americans, especially as Europeans consume American pop culture as much as anyone else. I recall being on the Via Veneto in 1998, and seeing that the largest crowds of Italian youngsters were around the Footlocker shop. However, I also pointed out in 1999, to a Frenchman saying unkind things about American culture, that he was drinking a Coca-Cola. Anti-Americanism is a strange and undeniable aspect of life in Europe.

      I am not myself an American-basher: for one thing, I come from a very long and extensive line of Americans, and for another my best girl friends are an American and a Canadian with an American grandmother, like me. My largest audience has always been American, too. But given the continuing prominence of the USA in the world, it is impossible not to comment on the nation or its people(s) from time to time. Pax!