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20 February 2018


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richard sale

Thank you so much for relating this. It is uplifting and valuable.
I know it took effort. Thank you again.


richard sale

Thank you very much.


richard sale

There is no need to apologize. It's a beautifully written comment.

I think of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples the evening before he died. That one act reveals the depth of his humanity.



Richard, I am a High School Football Coach and a damn good one. How do I share your sentiments without being able to discuss "Good Breeding". Much of what you say rings true cept that set of two words...Begs the question, are you familiar with Eugenics?

English Outsider

Richard Sale,

"I think of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples the evening before he died. That one act reveals the depth of his humanity."

A wonderful image and one cherished throughout the Christian period. Often imitated in practice too, and that Mediaeval ritual illustrated better than anything else that ruling was not merely a matter of predation or the rule of the strongest, but of duty. Now that we are fast returning to the era of "The rich man in his castle, the poor man at his gate" we might do well to recover a little of that. I'm no fan of Noblesse Oblige but I'm forced to be honest and admit it looks better than running off with the loot and damn the Deplorables.

We should not forget, though, that He gave the cronies a rough time himself on occasion. Cleared them out of the Temple and no nonsense. We could also imitate that, perhaps.

And He didn't beat about the bush when He said it wasn't going to be easy. "I am come not to bring peace but a sword" indicates that.

(Just in case you're concerned that I'm interrupting your meditation with talk about pitchforks, the accepted interpretation of that troublesome passage is good enough for me -


- though I'm not sure it's going to be good enough for everyone if there get to be too many poor men at the gate.)

I liked your meditation very much.



A very eloquent. Moral preening has always been easier than acting morally. Now it seems moral preeing is viewed as the premier civilizational value on both sides of the Atlantic. Woe be to he who does not share the new model virtues.


Richard - Like the others in this group, I want to thank you for taking the time to pen such a cogent analysis of our contemporary society. I think you were spot on in your analysis.

Babak Makkinejad

You could start by stressing the importance of being polite, well-behaved and with good manners. If students cannot master such elementary things, they have no chance succeeding at other undertakings.


Thank you for this message. In my later years, my eyesight is failing. It's a genetic condition. But I am very grateful that in my youth, I chose to read and read and read. The thoughts and ideas of all the authors I've read, and my early Christian education and continuing Christian worship have kept me "on the rock," so to speak, where I seek righteousness above everything else. It's hard work.

I am also grateful that I attended public schools when they were still places of learning and not of indoctrination.

I came to this blog because of one of the other contributors, whom you didn't mention: Publius Tacitus. (I like the name, as I have studied history extensively.) So, I too, thank him and the writers here, and now including you.

I have chosen not to have a cell phone. Early into this tech trend, I chose not to involve myself in social media because, having taught secondary school in our public schools, I realized quickly how much of a negative influence social media had. But, I also saw, as my career went on, that the younger teachers themselves were not really educated in anything but the "group think" mentality of the so-called "education departments." Few knew much about the subject areas they were supposed to be teaching.

Since I am Christian, and since I am slowly going blind (I hope like Sophocles' Tiresias}, that I am still able to "see" clearly. I think of the passage in Corinthians: I see through a glass, darkly. But then, face to face. Now I know in part, but then I will know as I am known." (I may have not quoted exactly as my KJ Bible has it, but I think I have the sentiment stated correctly.)

I fear for the future of my children and five grandchildren if our society continues on its present course.

Karel Whitman

Most would wish to escape it.

Babak #10, interesting combination Owen and Sassoon, Buddha and Jesus.

Ages ago I was quite fascinated by the former two. But yes, along the lines of Lee A. Arnold below might make sense to reflect on something essential relating the former two with the latter and/or how this could be used as basis for an interpretation of Richard's essay or "culture complaint".

Eric Newhill

IMO, people within groups are plenty polite to each other.

The root cause is "diversity" + identity politics + social Marxism + government incentives for identity + the left side of the bell curve. This is a cancerous formula.

Diversity is probably mostly ok by itself. However, it is fatal when combined with an atmosphere of identity politics and leftist propaganda.

I listened to the students of the Florida school that got attacked address Trump. Basically, the message is that if you are pro-2A, are an NRA member, then you are a child murderer.

There is no polite response to that. There is no opportunity for reasoned discourse.

The children got that message from their teachers. Teachers in public schools are as left as are MSM personalities and Hollyweird actors, producers, etc.

Too much of the population allows itself to be brainwashed by politically active groups with covert (or not so covert) agendas. This same class of people used to be brainwashed in a way that was conducive to a unified society. Now they are brainwashed toward disunity. It is the brainwashers who are to blame for the breakdown of politeness and the brainwashers are leftists.

Babak Makkinejad

I am not sure that this the entire story.

No one under 30 in England has any manners either - and that has been the case for decades.

Perhaps David Habakkuk could shed some light on this.

In regards to the school shooting:

20 years ago a European-American whose business was failing murdered his wife, his 6-year old son, and then killed himself in hereabouts.

A neighbor told me that he thought he was capable of such an act; he looked it.

But until a crime is committed one cannot take any action.

There is also this: the young man evidently was either born Evil or was listening to the Dark Side.

But uttering such statements likely would cause one to be considered deranged, rather than the young man.

If did not have a gun, he might have used a car.


No umbrage with that Babak. It was a fabulous essay. Breeding???

Babak Makkinejad

How can the kids have breeding when their mothers have none?


I do believe the young man was born either a sociopath or a psychopath. They are people who are born that way. Not all sociopaths do murderous deeds, but they all do cause much emotional hard to many of the people who are in their lives. Many do cause physical hard, and of course a psychopath does much worse. This young man's current supposed sense of remorse is nothing but what a sociopath learns early in life--how to express an emotion the people who have to deal with him expect from a normal person.

I worked as a "humane educator" for a while in Indiana. This was in the early to mid 70's. The reason the Humane Society had "humane educators" was the Indiana law that required some type of "humane education" every year a child attended public school. The legislature passed this law because the research has always pointed out that sociopaths and psychopaths start their "career" as such by torturing and killing animals before moving on to humans. Notice that this young man did do that. Just those posted photos of his torture of animals should been enough to get authorities to his house to take away his weapons.

But as for the attempts to thwart young people away from torturing animals, I believe that most young children do not have those tendencies. The ones who do will not be taught not to have them. They will just learn not to show those feelings or to commit those acts when others are watching.

I know most people often react to those of us who worry about animals as being too emotional. And they often say that our first concerns should be for people. But I say, our first obligation, given by God in Genesis, is to have dominion over the animals. I would suggest that having that dominion means we should have it and practice it as God has dominion over us.

No animal torturing child should ever be left unwatched as he/she grows up.



Because my wife is a skilled genealogist I am interested in the effect of centuries of "breeding" on the sudden appearance of an individual who does not specifically seem like his or her parents. This seems to be a fairly frequent occurrence. Henry Louis Gates seems to be educating some segment of American society (as well as himself) to this phenomenon. Actually his whole TV enterprise challenges the usual leveling American attitude toward nature and nurture, but somehow his thingy prospers. pl

Babak Makkinejad

. Thank you for your comments.
I think the words "sociopath" an87d "psychopath" are non-moral desi gnations for "maliscious" and "Evil"; tryiing to change an ethical issue into a medical one.

Babak Makkinejad

I recall seeing children torturing a frog, they lacked toys.

Babak Makkinejad

Children do not inherit their parent's MBTI. And then men such as Farady or Newton seemed to spring out of nowhere. There is also a fact that the oratory of an African-American preacher is unmatched everywhere.

Ingolf Eide


Much of what you say is undoubtedly true. Still, I wonder; do our societal illnesses really stem from mass democracy, excessive equality, or ubiquitous fools who consider themselves masterminds?

Respect, whether based on deference to achievement or to position within an accepted hierarchy, has indeed largely vanished. I don’t see why we should be surprised, however, when the narratives conveyed by those we’re meant to respect have become ever more divorced from reality, self-serving and hypocritical. People are often fools but I think they (we) tend to sense falsity. Unfortunately, as you say, few are willing (or perhaps able) to unmask these facades and instead plump for their tribe’s version of reality. Which brings up what I see as the second great contributor to our present state. Eric said “Diversity is probably mostly ok by itself” (I’d go further and say it certainly is) but I think he’s also right in saying that the active promotion of identity politics is pure poison. Tribe is set against tribe and habits that underpin a healthy society turn rancid and die: live and let live, openness, the judging of others based on who they are and how they act rather than their tribal allegiance. And so on.

And then there’s the coup de grace (or perhaps even the root cause), the absorption of poststructuralist/post-modernist tenets into Western culture and education. Handled with care they have their uses but their broader societal effect, it seems to me, has been disastrous. Faced with the apparent collapse of “truth” it’s all too easy to drift into either anomie or unreasoning passion, both of which feed into the causes already noted above.

There’s a fascinating little experiment underway just now. Jordan Peterson, a Canadian clinical psychologist, has recently gone viral. His very public stand against these trends and their underlying causes, together with the active promotion of a fairly straightforward framework of (mostly) rather old-fashioned values has struck a tremendous chord, particularly with young people. Again, not surprising I don’t think. It will be fascinating, however, to see how this unfolds, firstly whether he can maintain his internal balance in the midst of this tsunami, and secondly whether he (and those who broadly share his views) can trigger a sort of counterreformation.



Thank you for this thoughtful essay.

I was born during the Depression. The biggest change that I have seen is the erosion of honor. People of character used to be honorable. Now that is a vanishing ethic. Expedience matters more to most people. I hope my grandchildren and great grandchildren will find honor once again as an important yardstick of good character.

David Habakkuk


Thanks for the kind words. A great deal to think over in your reflections and the comments they provoked.

As it happens, I have been kept busy trying to follow up leads in Glenn Simpson’s testimony to the Senate Judiciary and House Intelligence committees. I read, with incredulity, his suggestion that ‘it’s not the reporter’s job to figure out who’s telling the truth and who’s not or who’s right and who’s wrong’.

Much of the interest – and fun – of journalism used to lie in the opportunity to talk to a variety of people, some of whom would be giving you accurate information, some a pack of lies, and many a mixture of both, and then trying to work out what the truth about the matter at hand actually was.

And the honour of the activity, such as it was, had to do with being willing to follow down the paths in which doing this led you, irrespective of whether or not they made you feel comfortable.

So the agendas of figures like Simpson, be they acting as journalists or in whatever role Fusion ended up adopting, are certainly not to do with making matters clearer.

On a related matter, I think quite a lot of people in Britain share some of the ambivalence towards aristocracy that ‘English Outsider’ expresses.

It is not a matter of snobbery, or a nostalgia for a ‘Downton Abbey’ world, simply a kind of bafflement and horror at the way that the new élites think and act – and also, the way that people who come from old élites, like David Cameron or Boris Johnson, seem to have lost any sense that privilege has to be justified.

Moreover, Ingolf’s remark about ‘ubiquitous fools who consider themselves masterminds’ seems to the point. And ironically, precisely what contemporary Western élites cannot be accused of is any kind of rational, calculating Machiavellianism.

The growth of the discontents which impelled both Trump’s election victory on your side, and the Brexit vote and also Corbyn’s election as Labour leader on ours, has been visible to anyone who would look for many years.

They could have been headed off, but instead, on both sides of the Atlantic élites locked themselves further and further into a cocoon.

They are now compounding the problem by refusing to face up to the causes of the backlash against them. So they attempt indiscriminately to tar a wide range of different responses in the backlash against them by treating a fringe which actually is neo-Nazi as though it was representative.

To make matters worse, they also fall back on the old Stalinist strategy of covering one’s old failures by accusing one’s enemies of plotting in collusion with demonic foreigners. (Of this strategy, Simpson’s testimony provides an interesting example.)

As to whether ‘a sort of counterreformation’ is possible, I think the jury is very much out. However, in relation to Babak Makkinejad’s argument about manners, I do see some grounds for optimism.

My SWMBO was noting the other day that, although very often travellers on London buses are ill-mannered, younger people on the tubes are often surprisingly willing to give up their seats to their elders.

Likewise, some of our younger relatives and friends, who have young children, do seem to be quite successful in finding a balance between avoiding a kind of Victorian-style harshness, and insisting on the parameters and disciplines which children need to flower into responsible adults: perhaps significantly more so than very many of our own generation did.

Babak Makkinejad

At the time that you were growing up, were Americans thought of as "Citizens" or as "Tax-payers"?

Was there ever a transition - from "Honor" to "Transaction"?

Mark Logan

David Habakkuk,

I've noticed something similar in the many young people we must hire and train in these days of construction boom. It's hard to describe but I sense a counter-culture brewing, counter to the self-importance and resultant hubris the Boomers and their children, which Richard described so very well.

Speculating for a cause, I would suggest the tremendous inter-connectivity of this smart phone generation is spawning a humility of sorts. TS Lawrence ones described a difference between the Brits and the Arabs. He opined that the Brits of a certain class had grown up in insular isolation and thereby came to view their own ideas, hardly ever challenged, as brilliant, but the Arabs "lived in heaps" and thereby became aware of their personal limitations.

Whistling past the graveyard, perhaps, and one even gave me an inspired bit of madness which captured his view of the mania currently dominating our media/discourse, which I will share, and may hopefully dispel some of the morbidity which dominates this discussion:


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