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The four thinkers who took on the mob Resisting the public beast is increasingly difficult

Did the book burners ever go away? (Credit: Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade/Lucasfilm)

Did the book burners ever go away? (Credit: Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade/Lucasfilm)


August 4, 2023   7 mins

What is the formative connection between the private self and other people? Or, as the architect of libertarianism Ayn Rand once put it, how should we order “the two principles fighting within human consciousness — the individual and the collective, the one and the many, the ‘I’ and the ‘They’”? Today, the question looms large because of the “social” part of social media, though we’re probably all too distracted checking our mentions to notice. In wartime Europe, the issue was more obviously pressing — for other people tended to breathe down your neck in ways you couldn’t ignore. They hunted in packs, attacked in mobs, wandered about desperately in droves, and capitulated in herds.

During the Thirties and Forties, four brilliant but unknown young thinkers — Simone Weil, Simone de Beauvoir, Hannah Arendt and Ayn Rand herself — were obsessed with questions about the individual versus the social world. Unfamiliar to each other, they wondered how best, in Beauvoir’s words, “to make oneself an ant among ants, or a free consciousness facing other consciousnesses”. Their respective philosophical conclusions and the surrounding life events that helped give rise to them are the subject of a wonderful book, The Visionaries by the German author Wolfram Eilenberger.

No member of this quartet was a natural team-player; all were fiercely non-conformist in their own ways. The book depicts them living through a tumultuous decade (1933-43) that included Stalin’s Holodomor, the Spanish Civil War and the rise of Hitler. To Arendt, history resembled not so much an arc bending towards justice as something more like the vision of her suicidal friend Walter Benjamin: “one single catastrophe, which keeps piling wreckage upon wreckage”. Weil accused the “whole of the 19th century” of believing, wrongly, “that by walking straight in front of one, one necessarily rises up into the air.”

Metaphysical questions assumed to be long settled took on new political urgency as legal rights were repealed, hostilities stoked and the death camps built. The challenge, as far as Arendt was concerned, was for Jews like her to “fight like madmen for private existences with individual destinies” against the forces that would dehumanise them. From 1933 on, she wandered rootless and alienated across Europe, settling uneasily for a while in Paris before being forced to move on again.

Like Arendt, Rand and Weil were also Jewish, relegating them to the status of metaphysical Otherhood in the eyes of many. Rand’s prosperous Russian family had lost nearly everything during the revolution. Weil, assimilated (at least superficially) in a bourgeois French family, suffered less from antisemitism than the others, but still was forced to leave for England in 1942. As a non-Jew, Beauvoir underwent the least personal upheaval, but even she had a breakdown during a flight from the Germans in 1940.

Between them, these thinkers produced a fascinating spectrum of philosophical positions, each inflected by thoughts and feelings about the chaos around them. At one pole was the atheist Rand, arriving in the States aged 21 with a visceral hatred of totalitarianism, and with a self-willed, asocial, rational egoist in mind as a moral hero — someone a bit like her, it seems. Autonomy was everything, suffering was pointless, and the self was most free when alone.

Rand rejected any Christian or socialist calls to altruism or “equality” as vehemently as she rejected tyranny from the Russian state. Equality meant only interchangeability, which meant a descent into mediocrity and nothingness. Refusing modesty as a refuge of the feeble-minded, she would declare in her diary that “Nietzsche and I think…”. She dreamed of becoming completely impervious to other people’s opinions — to “refuse, completely and uncompromisingly, any surrender to the thoughts and desires of others”, as she put it for one of her fictional protagonists — and very nearly managed. In 1943, as her family still starved back in Leningrad, her novel The Fountainhead finally took off. She negotiated an unheard-of sum of $50,000 for the Hollywood film rights and bought herself a mink coat.

At the other end of the spectrum was the admirable Weil, equally eccentric and passionate in her attempts to make a moral art out of living, and the real star of the book. During a short and intensely lived life she moved from Marxist-inspired socialism to ascetic Christian mysticism, but was always drawn to self-sacrifice and suffering as a means of understanding others. She sent all her spare money to the poor; wouldn’t eat at her parents’ house unless she could leave the cost of a restaurant meal on the table afterwards; and worsened her already fragile health by getting a job in a factory, in order to better understand the experience of workers. During the Spanish Civil War, she became the International Brigade’s least useful volunteer, determined to carry out secret missions for the Republic but short-sighted to the point of near-blindness and unable to shoot a rifle.

Physically emaciated and tortured by terrible headaches, she deliberately sought out sacred music in churches to transform her physical suffering into meaning. By the end of her life, Weil was advocating total selflessness and renunciation of will, and framing the act of suffering as a direct route to communion with God. But even as she lay dying in a Kent hospital in 1943 — muttering verses, refusing food to the frustration of her doctors, and telling nurses to send her allocated milk to the starving — she still found the energy to write to the leaders of the Free France movement, remonstrating about their failure to send her behind enemy lines on a solo mission.

In between these two characters and outlooks are placed the more moderate Beauvoir and Arendt. Partly because of the persecution she suffered, Arendt appears the more sympathetic one here, and the more politically serious. While being chased across Europe, she agonises about Jewish identity and the self-destructive futility of trying to “assimilate”, feeling lonely and unwelcomed wherever she fetches up.

Living precariously as a refugee after escaping from a French internment camp, she starts to articulate the ideas that would later inform her famous analysis of totalitarianism as an émigré to the United States. Internees in camps were not being arrested for anything they had personally done, she noticed, and no difference was made between the innocent and the guilty. The individuality and inner life of a person was irrelevant — was treated as non-existent, even. The Nazi plan, embraced by collaborating French too, was to turn “every individual human being into a thing that would always behave the same way under identical conditions”.

In comparison to the travails of Arendt, the life of the young Beauvoir can’t help seeming slightly decadent. Granted, she waxes enthusiastically about the importance of “metaphysical solidarity” with others as a precondition of personal freedom, but makes it sound all rather grubbily transactional — I’ll grant you recognition, if you grant me some. While, by force of circumstance in the Paris of 1936, Arendt and her fellow refugee lover are living hand-to-mouth in sparsely furnished hotels and wandering aimlessly between cafes during the day, Sartre and Beauvoir are doing the very same thing — by choice, for kicks.

The immediate focus of both Sartre and Beauvoir is not the suffering millions, but their shared “family”, composed of young lovers and acolytes. When not reading or writing, Beauvoir conducts a complicated romantic schedule that would make the average polycule these days feel inadequate. Resembling Rand in her rather sociopathic detachment from other people’s feelings, she treats this quasi-incestuous group as a psychological testing chamber through which she can analyse various permutations of what the existentialists called “Being-for-others” — and then set them within her novels.

One of Eilenberger’s strokes of genius is to reflect the book’s content in its form. Just as hidden aspects of the self are revealed only in a process of comparison with others, so too do elements of each woman’s life and outlook emerge in fascinating relief by juxtaposition with the other three. As the episodic narrative unfurls, strange harmonies and discords between the thinkers appear as if in musical counterpoint.

Poles apart, Rand and Weil both end up thinking of social life as a source of evil, though for different reasons. For Weil, Plato’s “Great Beast” — public opinion — can only lead us away from God. For Rand, it can only lead us away from the god-like self. Arendt embraces love between two people as the antithesis of totalitarian impersonality, while Weil treats romantic love as “manifestly unjust and morally random”. Just as Arendt argues that Jewish assimilation into society requires a destructive embracing of antisemitism within the self, so too will Beauvoir eventually go on to argue in The Second Sex that the assimilation of women into a universal “humanity” requires something similar — but with misogyny taking the place of antisemitism. Meanwhile Rand, Weil, and Beauvoir all think of themselves as adopting masculine roles.

The basic philosophical questions addressed so ardently by these iconoclasts have not gone away. Invasion and war are back on the continent, along with dehumanising war crimes and the strategic othering of ethnic and national populations — all encouraged by leaders who sneer at democracy. But even without all that, there are quieter and more everyday invasions: of your mind, for instance, filled up by other people’s thoughts and feelings every time you look at a screen.

The boundary of the self in relation to others has never been more porous. Resistance to the “Great Beast” is increasingly difficult, even if we now answer to bureaucrats in HR departments and not to party apparatchiks. In an age of virtual and machine-mediated relationships, we invent new selves online for the benefits of imaginary beings but take every opportunity to avoid other people in the flesh. In doing so, we avoid ourselves. Indeed, for some of us, lost in online worlds, Being-for-others in Beauvoir’s sense barely gets going. And destructive ideology can easily seep into the gaps where human contact used to be.

Equally, the public square has also got a lot noisier since 1943, and it’s even harder to tell who the bad guys are. Widespread cultural familiarity means that, perversely, the narrative of a minority being cruelly dehumanised can be cynically recycled by pretty much any group seeking power or attention, no matter how ludicrous the claim at face value. (“Acephobia”, otherwise known as discrimination against asexual people comes to mind — indeed, surely it’s only a matter of time before some bright spark reclaims Simone Weil as an early fighter for asexual rights). Tap into the right tropes and it’s a work of minutes to persuade the guilt-ridden and the gullible that a new identity group is being persecuted horribly, simply because rampant political ambitions are being criticised. The book-burners and censors these days do it in the memory of past victims of totalitarianism, and many onlookers don’t know which side to take. Even worse, the phenomenon of confected-grievance-as-power-grab allows many to dismiss genuine social ills in the same light.

Still, despite the epistemic confusion, we have to keep on trying. As Arendt wrote presciently in 1951: “The self-compulsion of ideological thinking ruins all relationships with reality… The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the convinced Communist, but people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction (the reality of experience) and the distinction between true and false (the standards of thought) no longer exist.” In other words: technologies may come and go, but the challenge of staying an individual in the face of the mob is always with us.


Kathleen Stock is an UnHerd columnist and a co-director of The Lesbian Project.
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Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
11 months ago

I still do not feel we have grasped fully the nature of the nightmarish Fall our society is undergoing. We once felt free. We could place our faith in our law and lawmakers. No more. We inhabit a crushing, hostile deeply corrupted undemocratic public space in which coercion and exclusion are deployed daily to further the ideological interests of a deranged zealous united progressive political class. Everywhere there are quiet horrors that stun – from debanking farmers to State backed Pol Pot like eco fanaticism and a DEI identitarianism that is poisonous, harmful to communites and suffocating. We inhabit a New Order too; because it was introduced peacefully with the accession of Blairism and Maastrict in the 1990s, we have failed to recognise what is and fail to comprehend how completely it has overturned and disfigured not just traditional means of governance, but even more precious traditional values like free speech, autonomy from the State, personal responsibility and the rule of law. What would these four make of this rot – this slow death at the hands of a crude self serving unproductive State Blob today?

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
11 months ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

I’m genuinely curious: What previous decade, if not idealized Golden Age, do you long to re-inhabit or restore? You also use capital-f Fall to suggest the prelapsarian paradise of Eden. I understand and do not dispute that the ruling mood, as a casual diagnosis, seems trapped and suspicious, at a global, national, and neighborhood level. Yet I don’t remember a period within my lifetime of about half-a-century when people, in a general or prevailing way, felt free or trustful of institutions. Somewhat more so, yes. What was the consensus view during the Thatcher or John Major years?
You seem to be saying that there is some new or singular hopelessness afoot in Britain. Is this present malaise, fear, and mutual distrust across multiple boundaries–across the Atlantic the worst since just before and just after I was born–something new in kind rather than degree? Was the window between the actual World Wars and Tony Blair a time of freedom, without threat of annihilation, or menace from previous generations of far-left ideologues with some measure of institutional capture?
Maybe, but I’ve been hearing that we’re all doomed and have fallen off the true path since I was very young, and my perusal of old books indicates a history of such sentiments since way before the birth of Jesus. In fact we are all doomed, in the sense that no one makes it out of this world alive. In my view we are just hearing the same doom-talk, angst, and genuine agony that have been interwoven into the human condition since the expulsion from the Garden. More so than in many recent decades, granted. But one has always had to fight to be free, on an individual and grander scale too. True human freedom has always been brief or rare, potential and aspirational for most. Nearly all taste it, few achieve any hold thereupon, and those lucky few may have grace to thank more than themselves alone.
Would any of Stock’s four thinkers consider ours a time of singular “unfreedom” or Blobular Statism?

Last edited 11 months ago by AJ Mac
jim peden
jim peden
11 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

Good question. I remember the 90s when it felt – for a few years after the fall of the Berlin wall – that there had been an outbreak of common sense.

I think Walter Marvell is right to say that our freedoms of thought and word have been eroded over the past couple of decades. If the UK government thinks it a good idea to create a ‘nudge unit’ to get its way by propagandising the man in the street then I take that as a sign of a “corrupted undemocratic public space”. There are many other indicators as the recent public health interventions amply demonstrated.

We’re in an information war and its outcome is far from certain but I’m more optimistic about the future because we do have a growing and erudite band of critics and dissenters who have been given a voice through unherd, substack and others.

Last edited 11 months ago by jim peden
AJ Mac
AJ Mac
11 months ago
Reply to  jim peden

Thanks for your generous and persuasive reply. I appreciate the hopeful note as I’m unable to generate hope or manufacture “historical perspective” on my own full-time, especially when I only feel connected to it about 51% of the time.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
11 months ago
Reply to  jim peden

“I remember the 90s when it felt – for a few years after the fall of the Berlin wall – that there had been an outbreak of common sense.”
Quite so. This lasted for me from 1989 until Al Qaeda attacked the Twin Towers in 2001.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
11 months ago
Reply to  jim peden

Thanks for your generous and persuasive reply. I appreciate the hopeful note as I’m unable to generate hope or manufacture “historical perspective” on my own full-time, especially when I only feel connected to it about 51% of the time.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
11 months ago
Reply to  jim peden

“I remember the 90s when it felt – for a few years after the fall of the Berlin wall – that there had been an outbreak of common sense.”
Quite so. This lasted for me from 1989 until Al Qaeda attacked the Twin Towers in 2001.

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
11 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

I am not harking back with nostalgia to any decade in particular AJ. I am looking at the present. What I am expressing is an ever deepening troubling awareness here in the UK that our bedrock fundamental values and practices are being swept away by the double revolution of Modernizing Blairism (97) and us becoming a compliant EU Clone Statelet (92). The most basic belief was faith in the fairness of our law, confidence in the right to live freely and to speak bravely without coercive tyrannical intervention by an overbearing unchecked State. All these beliefs have been shattered. We have seen a vast new and detached political class ‘do a Trump’ and seek to overturn a referendum result that it hated. We have seen our housing and labour markets crash and warp through a combination of mass uncontrolled immigration (+6/8m) and a linked rigged property boom which made said elite as rich as Croesus. Common law- the thread linking us to our past and the best guarantor of liberty – has been subverted by codified European and human right laws often hostile to the public will (see the unchecked criminal people trade over the channel and the utter impotence of the elected Executive). Todays small news see farmers and hunts and all de-banked by the Woke Establishment and MI5 repeat the insidious cowardly lie that right wing terrorists on the web are a greater threat than Islamists. Then look at Kathleen’s own story to see the powers exerted by hate mobs flying under the flag of supposed diversity and the crushing in civic society and in the captured public sector of any dissent to the new State credos. This is not how it was AJ. Ever. But our resistance is futile as the political classes, lawyers, State machine and media have all – for the first time – united to enforce their zealotry (EDI, BLM, Net Zero, Climate Boiling, Mass Migration, Super secularism) upon us. This is new. This is like no other England. And yes, too right, all four writers would be alert to the acrid stench of growing tyranny and the repression of individual liberty.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
11 months ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

Thank you for those clarifications and details, some of which exist in a national and political context I do not understand at an insiders level, so I won’t comment on them (I’m trying to cut down on doing that). I would still insist that while in some way things are surely different in a nasty way–I would cite the information overload, without context or resultant knowledge, let alone wisdom, for many info swallowers–in another way there is still no new thing under the sun.
I actually think that at least two or three of the four (I want to except Rand, for some reason) would totally reject the idea that the current stench holds any odorous candle to the eras they lived through, especially the Thirties and Forties. Nor would they accept your claim of futility, perhaps especially Arendt, writing in the immediate wake of, conservatively, one of the worst things that had ever happened, but still attempting to make a meaningful impact. I would actually contend that some your own impassioned and thoughtful posts belie that asserted futility, or at least suggest you haven’t fully fallen into its clutches. Otherwise, why bother?
I admire and attempt to draw useful strength from the resilience and stubborn hope of Viktor Frankl–as expressed in Man’s Search for Meaning–who found beauty and purpose both during his time and after surviving life in a notorious death camp. I’m not saying his experience is directly applicable to yours or mine, but I don’t find it totally unrelated to my life either. Homo sum, humani nihil a me alienum puto —Terence

Last edited 11 months ago by AJ Mac
Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
11 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

You know I enjoy your positive affirmations of human resilience AJ! I do not intend to project despair or futility. This is why this article is so good. It asks what can we learn from these four thinkers confronting full on totalitarianism. I set out a stark new reality as I see it, not solutions I cannot yet see. It is so easy to imagine the old ways endure. All the old buildings are still there. Parliament. Courts. BBC HQ. Westminster. But wild new credos hold sway within them and there is a deep sense of impotence anger at the injustice of revolution ex-Manifesto. What can individuals and communities do when so many fundamental and radical policies without any electoral mandate are imposed upon them from above?

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
11 months ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

I’m glad to hear that, Walter. I don’t detect pure futility or despair, but I just felt moved to push back against the despairing dimension of your post as I perceived it, and then pivoted to push back against a more general, lingering sense of gloom that is so much around us these days, and to which I’m not immune–far from it. Sometimes I’m not good about making clear whether I’m attempting a direct response to another comment or not.
But in my past, I’ve had a few seasons of such deep, abiding personal gloom that I did not think they would or could ever lift (I believe this is the central lie of profound melancholy or “clinical depression”)–and yet somehow the weight did lift. (I was going to continue with a bit more detail or context, but I think that’s plenty). Forgive me if that seems irrelevant or like a major overshare.
So while I don’t pretend to be able to answer your concluding question–and am sure that we’d differ as to which policies are too radical or onerous, but agree on several things too–I think cheerfulness or what I keep calling “stubborn hope” can be helpful for ourselves and others. Not if it’s just cheap or plastered on, of course.
Reframing my earlier point: To some extent liberation, or the lack thereof, still comes from within; it can’t be truly imparted, nor removed altogether by arbitrary imposition or electoral mandate–not forever, nor without remaining, unmonitored, very narrow catwalks of potential escape.
In the English-speaking world, we are not (at least the non-incarcerated) as far reduced in our liberties as Boethius writing The Consolation of Philosophy from prison just ahead of his death in 524 AD. Nor as someone in China, Afghanistan, Russia, or especially North Korea who dares not express any true opinion online unless it is ultra-orthodox. There are places where one can scarcely dare to have a true opinion or belief on the inside.
At least we’re not there yet, Walter. With a little luck, perseverance, and hitherto elusive consensus (where did it go?) we may very well go in a good direction instead of slipping toward Pyongyang. I do predict we will safely avoid both paradise and full-fledged tyranny or sci-fi dystopia.
Thank you for the thoughtful replies. Cheers.

Last edited 11 months ago by AJ Mac
Lillian Fry
Lillian Fry
11 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

Many refugees living in the US see the prelude to totalitarianism here now that they experienced in the countries they fled. Particularly those who lived through the Chinese cultural revolution. They speak to their friends but remain publicly silent – too aware of what can happen.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
11 months ago
Reply to  Lillian Fry

While I lack the same first-hand experience of genuine tyranny, I’m in total agreement on “prelude” and rising danger.
In academia, journalism, and sometimes the workplace–or among the “little woke monsters” in our homes and extended families–we hear echoes of the struggle session, growing efforts to criminalize woke-unapproved or daring speech, and demonization (or sneering dismissal) of ideological or cultural opponents.
We should keep in mind, however, what “cancellation” or “struggle session” meant in China during their engineered revolution. It’s a valid, but not to-scale comparison.
And something unpopular to mention on these boards: There are extremely intolerant and would-be violent forces rising on the Right, typified by those who welcome a Second Civil War or want to re-criminalize the “wrong kind of freedom”.
Or cancel or suppress the wrong votes (on both sides).
In conclusion, please don’t mistake my sponsoring claim: I am not saying there is nothing to fear or oppose, but that we are not forcibly reduced to a state of fearful opposition; not that our governments, societies, and cultures are unthreatened, but that tales of our imminent, certain doom are greatly exaggerated.
Mutual antagonism should be avoided. Sometimes that involves extending a hand or kind word to someone who is shouting, or expressing willingness to understand to someone who is not reciprocating that willingness. Not forever, but at first. And with second or additional chances in some cases.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
11 months ago
Reply to  Lillian Fry

While I lack the same first-hand experience of genuine tyranny, I’m in total agreement on “prelude” and rising danger.
In academia, journalism, and sometimes the workplace–or among the “little woke monsters” in our homes and extended families–we hear echoes of the struggle session, growing efforts to criminalize woke-unapproved or daring speech, and demonization (or sneering dismissal) of ideological or cultural opponents.
We should keep in mind, however, what “cancellation” or “struggle session” meant in China during their engineered revolution. It’s a valid, but not to-scale comparison.
And something unpopular to mention on these boards: There are extremely intolerant and would-be violent forces rising on the Right, typified by those who welcome a Second Civil War or want to re-criminalize the “wrong kind of freedom”.
Or cancel or suppress the wrong votes (on both sides).
In conclusion, please don’t mistake my sponsoring claim: I am not saying there is nothing to fear or oppose, but that we are not forcibly reduced to a state of fearful opposition; not that our governments, societies, and cultures are unthreatened, but that tales of our imminent, certain doom are greatly exaggerated.
Mutual antagonism should be avoided. Sometimes that involves extending a hand or kind word to someone who is shouting, or expressing willingness to understand to someone who is not reciprocating that willingness. Not forever, but at first. And with second or additional chances in some cases.

Lillian Fry
Lillian Fry
11 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

Many refugees living in the US see the prelude to totalitarianism here now that they experienced in the countries they fled. Particularly those who lived through the Chinese cultural revolution. They speak to their friends but remain publicly silent – too aware of what can happen.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
11 months ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

I’m glad to hear that, Walter. I don’t detect pure futility or despair, but I just felt moved to push back against the despairing dimension of your post as I perceived it, and then pivoted to push back against a more general, lingering sense of gloom that is so much around us these days, and to which I’m not immune–far from it. Sometimes I’m not good about making clear whether I’m attempting a direct response to another comment or not.
But in my past, I’ve had a few seasons of such deep, abiding personal gloom that I did not think they would or could ever lift (I believe this is the central lie of profound melancholy or “clinical depression”)–and yet somehow the weight did lift. (I was going to continue with a bit more detail or context, but I think that’s plenty). Forgive me if that seems irrelevant or like a major overshare.
So while I don’t pretend to be able to answer your concluding question–and am sure that we’d differ as to which policies are too radical or onerous, but agree on several things too–I think cheerfulness or what I keep calling “stubborn hope” can be helpful for ourselves and others. Not if it’s just cheap or plastered on, of course.
Reframing my earlier point: To some extent liberation, or the lack thereof, still comes from within; it can’t be truly imparted, nor removed altogether by arbitrary imposition or electoral mandate–not forever, nor without remaining, unmonitored, very narrow catwalks of potential escape.
In the English-speaking world, we are not (at least the non-incarcerated) as far reduced in our liberties as Boethius writing The Consolation of Philosophy from prison just ahead of his death in 524 AD. Nor as someone in China, Afghanistan, Russia, or especially North Korea who dares not express any true opinion online unless it is ultra-orthodox. There are places where one can scarcely dare to have a true opinion or belief on the inside.
At least we’re not there yet, Walter. With a little luck, perseverance, and hitherto elusive consensus (where did it go?) we may very well go in a good direction instead of slipping toward Pyongyang. I do predict we will safely avoid both paradise and full-fledged tyranny or sci-fi dystopia.
Thank you for the thoughtful replies. Cheers.

Last edited 11 months ago by AJ Mac
Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
11 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

I hope you’re right – but the attitudes of young graduates in my extended family fill me with dread, I’m afraid. It’s the assumption that any disagreement with the dominant narrative must be driven by bad faith that is new and sinister.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
11 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

I hear you and share your concerns to some extent. But when Boomers (my parents’ generation) came of age in the 60s and 70s, many used braindead expressions like “don’t trust anyone over 30” joined free-love communes, ruined their minds forever with heavy drug use, or became political simpletons and violent radicals. Society pressed forward–sort of. Gen Zers, like many among those once ever-so-hip Boomers, might out to be little arch conservatives. Or their children might, just to rebel.

Last edited 11 months ago by AJ Mac
AJ Mac
AJ Mac
11 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

I hear you and share your concerns to some extent. But when Boomers (my parents’ generation) came of age in the 60s and 70s, many used braindead expressions like “don’t trust anyone over 30” joined free-love communes, ruined their minds forever with heavy drug use, or became political simpletons and violent radicals. Society pressed forward–sort of. Gen Zers, like many among those once ever-so-hip Boomers, might out to be little arch conservatives. Or their children might, just to rebel.

Last edited 11 months ago by AJ Mac
Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
11 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

You know I enjoy your positive affirmations of human resilience AJ! I do not intend to project despair or futility. This is why this article is so good. It asks what can we learn from these four thinkers confronting full on totalitarianism. I set out a stark new reality as I see it, not solutions I cannot yet see. It is so easy to imagine the old ways endure. All the old buildings are still there. Parliament. Courts. BBC HQ. Westminster. But wild new credos hold sway within them and there is a deep sense of impotence anger at the injustice of revolution ex-Manifesto. What can individuals and communities do when so many fundamental and radical policies without any electoral mandate are imposed upon them from above?

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
11 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

I hope you’re right – but the attitudes of young graduates in my extended family fill me with dread, I’m afraid. It’s the assumption that any disagreement with the dominant narrative must be driven by bad faith that is new and sinister.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

Weimar Germany was somewhat similar, but guess what happened?
“Every action has an equal and opposite reaction”, or so they say.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
11 months ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

You’ve said it all so I don’t need to. Thank you.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
11 months ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

Thank you for those clarifications and details, some of which exist in a national and political context I do not understand at an insiders level, so I won’t comment on them (I’m trying to cut down on doing that). I would still insist that while in some way things are surely different in a nasty way–I would cite the information overload, without context or resultant knowledge, let alone wisdom, for many info swallowers–in another way there is still no new thing under the sun.
I actually think that at least two or three of the four (I want to except Rand, for some reason) would totally reject the idea that the current stench holds any odorous candle to the eras they lived through, especially the Thirties and Forties. Nor would they accept your claim of futility, perhaps especially Arendt, writing in the immediate wake of, conservatively, one of the worst things that had ever happened, but still attempting to make a meaningful impact. I would actually contend that some your own impassioned and thoughtful posts belie that asserted futility, or at least suggest you haven’t fully fallen into its clutches. Otherwise, why bother?
I admire and attempt to draw useful strength from the resilience and stubborn hope of Viktor Frankl–as expressed in Man’s Search for Meaning–who found beauty and purpose both during his time and after surviving life in a notorious death camp. I’m not saying his experience is directly applicable to yours or mine, but I don’t find it totally unrelated to my life either. Homo sum, humani nihil a me alienum puto —Terence

Last edited 11 months ago by AJ Mac
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

Weimar Germany was somewhat similar, but guess what happened?
“Every action has an equal and opposite reaction”, or so they say.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
11 months ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

You’ve said it all so I don’t need to. Thank you.

Martin Butler
Martin Butler
11 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

Are you new to Unherd comments? The comment you are discussing is par for the course here. Tediously predictable.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
11 months ago
Reply to  Martin Butler

Not new. If you haven’t notice my tendency to over-contribute I wonder how often you’re around. I agree in a general way but I’ve found Mr. Marvell to have fair and nuanced views on many subjects, in particular when nudged with fairness and nuance, beyond that par-score or empty-net sort of comment I’m well aware of.
I also like to play Sisyphus at times, briefly move the boulder out of the same ruts, if only back down into a different or deeper rut at times. The articles or comments are also never all one thing here, not for long.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
11 months ago
Reply to  Martin Butler

Why are you here if you think you already know what is going to be said? I would differ though. I think you’re much more likely to encounter original perspectives here than you will at, say, the Guardian.

Martin Butler
Martin Butler
11 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

I often enjoy the articles but find the comments predictable, disappointingly one sided and gravitate to the same issues again and again. I subscribe to the Guardian and Unherd.

Martin Butler
Martin Butler
11 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

I often enjoy the articles but find the comments predictable, disappointingly one sided and gravitate to the same issues again and again. I subscribe to the Guardian and Unherd.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
11 months ago
Reply to  Martin Butler

Not new. If you haven’t notice my tendency to over-contribute I wonder how often you’re around. I agree in a general way but I’ve found Mr. Marvell to have fair and nuanced views on many subjects, in particular when nudged with fairness and nuance, beyond that par-score or empty-net sort of comment I’m well aware of.
I also like to play Sisyphus at times, briefly move the boulder out of the same ruts, if only back down into a different or deeper rut at times. The articles or comments are also never all one thing here, not for long.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
11 months ago
Reply to  Martin Butler

Why are you here if you think you already know what is going to be said? I would differ though. I think you’re much more likely to encounter original perspectives here than you will at, say, the Guardian.

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
11 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

“…What previous decade, if not idealized Golden Age, do you long to re-inhabit or restore?…”

I would take the 80s, and rerun them for all of eternity.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
11 months ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

Fair enough. The only reason I’d go back there is to relive my teen years–but get it right this time!

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
11 months ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

Fair enough. The only reason I’d go back there is to relive my teen years–but get it right this time!

Mark M Breza
Mark M Breza
11 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

The Mauve Decade !o!

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
11 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

You are correct to some extent. Yes, freedom is like a house that needs maintaining or else it eventually rots and crumbles, and each era has its unique set of challenges in obtaining that freedom. However, what makes our times very different is the unprecedented advance of state and corporate surveillance technologies together with the speed with which once-trusted public institutions no longer hold the pursuit of truth and objectivity as a cherished ideal.
Yes, there is a lot of doom-and-gloom thinking on Unherd, but I’d rather that than the spite and vitriol seen in the comments section in publications such as the Guardian. By talking about current events, even to the point of ad nauseam, a way may be discovered to change or reverse course.
Personally, I think the 24-hour news cycle is to blame. We’re presented with so much information that our brains simply cannot process it all, and so we are retreating into ideological bubbles which profit-seeking news sites (including Unherd) are tapping into. It’s much like when the printing press became widespread and people started believing in witches and demons again. I’m not sure what the antidote to this is, but I think it is important to remember our humanness and the humanness of those who the media are all-too-willing to paint as foes or enemies.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
11 months ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

I agree with much of that. Where I’d continue to resist your argument is somewhere near its perhaps unknowable center: The idea that permutations and aspects of our zeitgeist that are indeed novel represent some essentially new or uniquely oppressive manifestation of social misery.
Maybe they do, and I can certainly see the danger of the 24-hour news cycle you mention as well as the Big Brother-like remote monitoring and surveillance. But I remain some combination of unconvinced and stubbornly unwilling to let myself and others off the hook with pronouncements of futility, at least on most days. It’s fine if they have some cathartic effect, but after a while, treating imminent doom–whether of cultural rot, ecological worries, or a more “classic” Armageddon, or whatever else–as if they were scientific certainties is a chosen path, one not backed by conclusive evidence.
In these doom-saying days, most websites and sociopolitical factions choose one category of doom that seems sensible and reject the others as nonsense or a hoax, and UnHerd is no exception there. As a dominant majority view, not without “dissenters”.
I’m worried or thin on hope much of the time myself these days. And everyone has a right to announce or vent their gloom. I just wish it was less common for those who defend hope or advocate practical, possible roads to improvement to be mocked as naive or foolish. Not all hopefulness is pie-in-the-sky optimism, nor any kind of mere optimism, and despondency or insistent pessimism is not a sustainable state of mind. It can literally kill you, or at least shorten your life and make those years you have more hellish for you and those around you, when we are in effect forced to hear–to no useful effect–how bad so many people think so many things are, over and over again.
Amen to this: “I’m not sure what the antidote to this is, but I think it is important to remember our humanness and the humanness of those who the media are all-too-willing to paint as foes or enemies”.

Last edited 11 months ago by AJ Mac
AJ Mac
AJ Mac
11 months ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

I agree with much of that. Where I’d continue to resist your argument is somewhere near its perhaps unknowable center: The idea that permutations and aspects of our zeitgeist that are indeed novel represent some essentially new or uniquely oppressive manifestation of social misery.
Maybe they do, and I can certainly see the danger of the 24-hour news cycle you mention as well as the Big Brother-like remote monitoring and surveillance. But I remain some combination of unconvinced and stubbornly unwilling to let myself and others off the hook with pronouncements of futility, at least on most days. It’s fine if they have some cathartic effect, but after a while, treating imminent doom–whether of cultural rot, ecological worries, or a more “classic” Armageddon, or whatever else–as if they were scientific certainties is a chosen path, one not backed by conclusive evidence.
In these doom-saying days, most websites and sociopolitical factions choose one category of doom that seems sensible and reject the others as nonsense or a hoax, and UnHerd is no exception there. As a dominant majority view, not without “dissenters”.
I’m worried or thin on hope much of the time myself these days. And everyone has a right to announce or vent their gloom. I just wish it was less common for those who defend hope or advocate practical, possible roads to improvement to be mocked as naive or foolish. Not all hopefulness is pie-in-the-sky optimism, nor any kind of mere optimism, and despondency or insistent pessimism is not a sustainable state of mind. It can literally kill you, or at least shorten your life and make those years you have more hellish for you and those around you, when we are in effect forced to hear–to no useful effect–how bad so many people think so many things are, over and over again.
Amen to this: “I’m not sure what the antidote to this is, but I think it is important to remember our humanness and the humanness of those who the media are all-too-willing to paint as foes or enemies”.

Last edited 11 months ago by AJ Mac
UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
11 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

The ideal is real. It felt that way in my childhood in the 50s. Much has been lost.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
11 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

I can remember a time when my friends and acquaintances didn’t care about my politics. Now it’s the entire basis on which we judge each other.

Pol Pot was not a historical aberration but a grim warning of what the future may hold if we are not as militant in defence of enlightenment values as the progressives in their attempt to replace them.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
11 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Intolerant militancies like state communism, unfortunately, have been around for centuries. And they do not run in one direction of young-to-old or left-to-right.
Of course I can’t prove it but I’m convinced that Enlightenment values will never suffer a permanent or total defeat. Even certain Classical values–in many ways ancestor to Age of Reason values–limped or hibernated their way through the Middles Ages until they became re-ascendant in the Renaissance.

Albert McGloan
Albert McGloan
10 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

Charming though Americans can be it’s a terrible burden upon England to share a common language with which Americans can regurgitate their tedious foundational myths (themselves a retelling of protestant English myths). Over a century ago some English ‘liberals’ were astonished to discover the sophistication of their ‘medieval’ forebears. Think of all the books written since then, the lectures given, and still you believe in ‘age of reason values’.

Albert McGloan
Albert McGloan
10 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

Charming though Americans can be it’s a terrible burden upon England to share a common language with which Americans can regurgitate their tedious foundational myths (themselves a retelling of protestant English myths). Over a century ago some English ‘liberals’ were astonished to discover the sophistication of their ‘medieval’ forebears. Think of all the books written since then, the lectures given, and still you believe in ‘age of reason values’.

Albert McGloan
Albert McGloan
10 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Pol Pot was birthed by the ‘enlightenment’.
Real communism enlightenment has never been tried!

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
11 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Intolerant militancies like state communism, unfortunately, have been around for centuries. And they do not run in one direction of young-to-old or left-to-right.
Of course I can’t prove it but I’m convinced that Enlightenment values will never suffer a permanent or total defeat. Even certain Classical values–in many ways ancestor to Age of Reason values–limped or hibernated their way through the Middles Ages until they became re-ascendant in the Renaissance.

Albert McGloan
Albert McGloan
10 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Pol Pot was birthed by the ‘enlightenment’.
Real communism enlightenment has never been tried!

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
11 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

A Bryant points out from 1660 to end of 18th century dominant policy was freedom. Even pre 1914 , there was little evidence of the State. There was much resistance to starting the Police as a threat to freedom in the 1830s as men were expected to defend themselves. No pay for MPs and as land owners had no wish to be away from their estates.
The Civil Service was created in 1857 and was minimal in number. Pre 1914, the Army was small , officers went about life out of uniform. As Orwell pointed out there has never been a naval dictatorship.
The English tradition was that one could do what one wanted unless there was law preventing it. There was no droit administratif in England. The Continental system was that one could only do something if a law permitted it. There was no income tax until the Napoleonic wars and then it was low , no death duties.
The people were extremely free, pre 1914 taxes were minimal, the state was minimal, one could buy guns from hardware shops, no conscription, laws were few and those which existed were upheld and people were expected to support and defend themselves.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
11 months ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

Many of them were free to starve or drop out of/finish school at 14 and go to the factory with a life expectancy of about 60. The State could throw you in a workhouse or conscript you into the army if you were indigent or publicly drunk (on one unlucky occasion even) in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Extremely free? To me, that is nostalgic overreach on steroids. “The People” who could vote in the year you name didn’t include women and many of the men would soon be forced to die in trenches to preserve the freedom of Posterity.
I’m in partial sympathy with some of your points about better order, decency, and physical hardihood, etc. in previous generations, but your earlier claim that “you don’t say the past is better, but that we can learn from it” (or something similar) seems dishonest. I feel that you reflexively defend the Old Ways, with few exceptions.
Would you honestly love to live in the 1850s? (Ok, I admit I think I might myself–but my moderating reason and general reader’s sense of history warns me that if I were to go there, I’d better still be a white man, and one with either more status or a smaller mouth than I have in my current incarnation).
Please tell me where I’m wrong. I would expect nothing less from you, Charles.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
11 months ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

*posted
*re-removed
*re-restored
*removed yet again
(what a tedious see-saw; is someone flagging my comment?)
*18-hour quarantine, with brief intermissions, seemingly ended. I wonder what caused this.
*last one because I know this is not momentous interesting documentation: post removed again. Didn’t say anything abusive or use hot-button terminology.
Editors: I know my rather mild comments are in there somewhere because you’ve “flashed” them at least four times.
But whether or not the comments post: Thanks for publishing most of my excessive participation here. I didn’t mean to clog this board with so much AJ Mac—— (rest of name surname withheld) and I will make a real effort to shut up a little more often in the future. Selah

Last edited 11 months ago by AJ Mac
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

“Publish and be damned”.*

(*Who?)

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
11 months ago

As we are both quite outspoken, Mr. Stanhope, I’ve sure you’ve has comments “quarantined” for 12 hours before. When/if it trickles through, I think you’ll see it’s quite moderate in tone by my “standards”.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
11 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

AJ Mac having worked in the Liverpool Docks there is nothing you have said which could cause offence.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
11 months ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

Haha! I love that. I wasn’t abusive or too salty either, to my own ear.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
11 months ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

Haha! I love that. I wasn’t abusive or too salty either, to my own ear.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

Gosh! I’m deeply shocked that you should think I am outspoken, when I strive to be a paragon of virtue and follow the Ancient Greek adage of “moderation in all things”.*

I shall have to try much harder!

(* Hesiod, 7th century BC to use Christian chronology.)

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
11 months ago

Oh my! Terribly sorry. The tone is typically rather genteel but your bite marks are sometimes still evident.
The Golden Mean, if too detached, can be a little mean too.
“Everything in moderation, including moderation” –Oscar Wilde (might be misattributed or borrowed from an earlier source).

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

I was only joking!

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
11 months ago

I know. Me too. But I tend to get defensive around those who have real Classical book learnin’.
Felt the need to trade quotes.

Last edited 11 months ago by AJ Mac
Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
11 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

So do most left wing middle class intellectuals.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
11 months ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

I’m far from left wing, though appearances may vary based on your informational diet. Left of center, yes. On average.
In some alternate world where you started pushing actual left wing positions–which I don’t think I have, or if so, rarely–my contrarian approach (encouraged by this medium and format) would eventually reveal my prevailing classical liberalism and humanism, with strains of the radical Jesus and the cultural preservationist too. (And probably other things about me I’d rather were not revealed).
I’m not in any real sympathy with either “wing”, but respect some individual, intelligent voices across the so-called spectrum.

Last edited 11 months ago by AJ Mac
AJ Mac
AJ Mac
11 months ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

I’m far from left wing, though appearances may vary based on your informational diet. Left of center, yes. On average.
In some alternate world where you started pushing actual left wing positions–which I don’t think I have, or if so, rarely–my contrarian approach (encouraged by this medium and format) would eventually reveal my prevailing classical liberalism and humanism, with strains of the radical Jesus and the cultural preservationist too. (And probably other things about me I’d rather were not revealed).
I’m not in any real sympathy with either “wing”, but respect some individual, intelligent voices across the so-called spectrum.

Last edited 11 months ago by AJ Mac
Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
11 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

So do most left wing middle class intellectuals.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
11 months ago

I know. Me too. But I tend to get defensive around those who have real Classical book learnin’.
Felt the need to trade quotes.

Last edited 11 months ago by AJ Mac
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

I was only joking!

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
11 months ago

Oh my! Terribly sorry. The tone is typically rather genteel but your bite marks are sometimes still evident.
The Golden Mean, if too detached, can be a little mean too.
“Everything in moderation, including moderation” –Oscar Wilde (might be misattributed or borrowed from an earlier source).

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
11 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

AJ Mac having worked in the Liverpool Docks there is nothing you have said which could cause offence.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

Gosh! I’m deeply shocked that you should think I am outspoken, when I strive to be a paragon of virtue and follow the Ancient Greek adage of “moderation in all things”.*

I shall have to try much harder!

(* Hesiod, 7th century BC to use Christian chronology.)

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
11 months ago

As we are both quite outspoken, Mr. Stanhope, I’ve sure you’ve has comments “quarantined” for 12 hours before. When/if it trickles through, I think you’ll see it’s quite moderate in tone by my “standards”.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

“Publish and be damned”.*

(*Who?)

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

William Pitt the Elder put it best like this*:

“The poorest man may in his cottage bid defiance to all the forces of the Crown. It may be frail — its roof may shake — the wind may blow through it — the storm may enter — the rain may enter — but the King of England CANNOT** enter — all his force dares not cross the threshold of the ruined tenement!

Incidentally as you probably know Robert Peel gave us the Metropolitan Police in 1829, and a return to Income Tax in 1841. Thus did the ‘rot’ begin.

(* Speech before the Excise Bill, 1763.)
(** My emphasis.)

Last edited 11 months ago by Charles Stanhope
Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
11 months ago

Thank you. The comments of Pitt The Elder are vital to remember . I think it used the case that able bodied men were expected to arrest criminals and hold them until the Police arrived. Thus able bodied were expected to be responsible. By able bodied men no longer being expected to or even allowed to arrest criminals we have given up our freedom to the State. Freedom can only exist where people accept the responsible to financially support and protect themselves. A society where people believe the State should protect them is one where is accepts it can control one’s life.
What did de Beauvoir to fight the nazi occupation ? Hallows GC, Szabo GC , Khan GC plus others risked torture and murder. The working class women of Britain had their men folk killed, crippled, they slogged their guts out in factories and farms; saw their homes destroyed yet their spirit never broke.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
11 months ago

Thank you. The comments of Pitt The Elder are vital to remember . I think it used the case that able bodied men were expected to arrest criminals and hold them until the Police arrived. Thus able bodied were expected to be responsible. By able bodied men no longer being expected to or even allowed to arrest criminals we have given up our freedom to the State. Freedom can only exist where people accept the responsible to financially support and protect themselves. A society where people believe the State should protect them is one where is accepts it can control one’s life.
What did de Beauvoir to fight the nazi occupation ? Hallows GC, Szabo GC , Khan GC plus others risked torture and murder. The working class women of Britain had their men folk killed, crippled, they slogged their guts out in factories and farms; saw their homes destroyed yet their spirit never broke.

Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
11 months ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

“The people were extremely free, pre 1914 taxes were minimal, the state was minimal, one could buy guns from hardware shops, no conscription, laws were few and those which existed were upheld and people were expected to support and defend themselves.”
Yes, but everyone was a racist, sexist, homophobe. And you were forced to rely on your family in case you got sick, got old, lost your job, etc. And you had to fund your own education. And there was much less jet travel. They didn’t even have the internet!
We have more government because we decided we needed more government. There are many volumes of political theory explaining why this always happens in societies. In America they tried to erect some firm boundaries to prevent it from happening, but boundaries are only as reliable as the people enforcing them. So here we are.

Last edited 11 months ago by Kirk Susong
Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
11 months ago
Reply to  Kirk Susong

St Thomas’ Hospital founded 1107 .

Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
11 months ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

National Health Service founded 1948. If you want to get back to the kind of free society you’d apparently like to get back to, you’ll have to explain, understand and respond to the electoral impulses that brought us out of it.

Last edited 11 months ago by Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
11 months ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

National Health Service founded 1948. If you want to get back to the kind of free society you’d apparently like to get back to, you’ll have to explain, understand and respond to the electoral impulses that brought us out of it.

Last edited 11 months ago by Kirk Susong
Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
11 months ago
Reply to  Kirk Susong

St Thomas’ Hospital founded 1107 .

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
11 months ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

Many of them were free to starve or drop out of/finish school at 14 and go to the factory with a life expectancy of about 60. The State could throw you in a workhouse or conscript you into the army if you were indigent or publicly drunk (on one unlucky occasion even) in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Extremely free? To me, that is nostalgic overreach on steroids. “The People” who could vote in the year you name didn’t include women and many of the men would soon be forced to die in trenches to preserve the freedom of Posterity.
I’m in partial sympathy with some of your points about better order, decency, and physical hardihood, etc. in previous generations, but your earlier claim that “you don’t say the past is better, but that we can learn from it” (or something similar) seems dishonest. I feel that you reflexively defend the Old Ways, with few exceptions.
Would you honestly love to live in the 1850s? (Ok, I admit I think I might myself–but my moderating reason and general reader’s sense of history warns me that if I were to go there, I’d better still be a white man, and one with either more status or a smaller mouth than I have in my current incarnation).
Please tell me where I’m wrong. I would expect nothing less from you, Charles.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
11 months ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

*posted
*re-removed
*re-restored
*removed yet again
(what a tedious see-saw; is someone flagging my comment?)
*18-hour quarantine, with brief intermissions, seemingly ended. I wonder what caused this.
*last one because I know this is not momentous interesting documentation: post removed again. Didn’t say anything abusive or use hot-button terminology.
Editors: I know my rather mild comments are in there somewhere because you’ve “flashed” them at least four times.
But whether or not the comments post: Thanks for publishing most of my excessive participation here. I didn’t mean to clog this board with so much AJ Mac—— (rest of name surname withheld) and I will make a real effort to shut up a little more often in the future. Selah

Last edited 11 months ago by AJ Mac
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

William Pitt the Elder put it best like this*:

“The poorest man may in his cottage bid defiance to all the forces of the Crown. It may be frail — its roof may shake — the wind may blow through it — the storm may enter — the rain may enter — but the King of England CANNOT** enter — all his force dares not cross the threshold of the ruined tenement!

Incidentally as you probably know Robert Peel gave us the Metropolitan Police in 1829, and a return to Income Tax in 1841. Thus did the ‘rot’ begin.

(* Speech before the Excise Bill, 1763.)
(** My emphasis.)

Last edited 11 months ago by Charles Stanhope
Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
11 months ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

“The people were extremely free, pre 1914 taxes were minimal, the state was minimal, one could buy guns from hardware shops, no conscription, laws were few and those which existed were upheld and people were expected to support and defend themselves.”
Yes, but everyone was a racist, sexist, homophobe. And you were forced to rely on your family in case you got sick, got old, lost your job, etc. And you had to fund your own education. And there was much less jet travel. They didn’t even have the internet!
We have more government because we decided we needed more government. There are many volumes of political theory explaining why this always happens in societies. In America they tried to erect some firm boundaries to prevent it from happening, but boundaries are only as reliable as the people enforcing them. So here we are.

Last edited 11 months ago by Kirk Susong
marjan m
marjan m
11 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

I think something changed when we criminalized speech. That was new and has a very strong effect on our ability to think.

John Riordan
John Riordan
11 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

“What previous decade, if not idealized Golden Age, do you long to re-inhabit or restore?”

Short answer is the 1990s. The trick would be working out how to stop it turning into the noughties with its banking crisis and the gradual collapse that followed.

Or perhaps I’m only saying that because I was in my late 20s / early 30s, earning a lot of money and having the time of my life.

Last edited 11 months ago by John Riordan
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  John Riordan

1955-1965. War over but we were still basking in the illusion that we HAD won it!

Some of the old Empire still standing, and a joy to visit on say a Union Castle Liner to Cape Town, or if to the old American colonies then it was RMS Queen Mary to New York, and if ‘down under’ then it had to be P&O.

Something like a proper Tory government in power. Additionally nearly everyone in government and opposition had actually fought in the War.

The NHS staffed by indomitable figures as portrayed by the late Hattie Jacques. Oxbridge still very much in the ‘Porterhouse Blue’ era.

Capital Punishment still in full ‘swing’, but it was very much a ‘green and pleasant land’. Enid Blyton holidays to Cornwall hauled by the fabled Atlantic Coast Express (ACE) or the Cornish Riviera Express, still in Great Western (GWR) livery.

Jobs galore and rising wages, rationing finished in ‘54, so time to spend. ‘The City’ still a revered institution where “ my word is my bond” really did mean that, and woe betide any who transgressed!

The birth of the television revolution, but we still had the fabulous BBC World Service for those who craved ‘real’ news and comment, in addition to the revered London Times, otherwise known as ‘The Times’!

Putting down my rose tinted Zeiss Binoculars for a moment, there were obviously dark clouds ahead but for most of us it was a case of “Occ est vivere”- that is to live’!

‘Sic transit gloria Mundi’.

Last edited 11 months ago by Charles Stanhope
AJ Mac
AJ Mac
11 months ago

Spanning two decades is kind of cheating…but I’ll allow it! Wouldn’t you truly rather “return” to 65-55 BC though?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

Thank you.
Yes that would be very stimulating if one was stationed towards the top of the pile.

However life expectancy even there, was rather too short for most.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
11 months ago

Exactly. Lends more urgency to pagan inscription you often cite.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

As an aside I am much amused by the vitriol that is produced by the mention of the names Trump, Johnson or Farage.

People I used to admire go completely berserk at the mention of these names and any sense of decency and common sense is immediately jettisoned!

The late Julius Caesar seems to have had the same problem with the self styled elite! Despite his much heralded ‘clemency’ it availed him nothing, and they ultimately stabbed him to death, as you well know!

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
11 months ago

I know what you mean, though I do think there’s a comparable if not equivalent trigger with AOC (that woke US congresswoman), Barack Obama, and maybe Hunter Biden in the reverse direction.
Certainly the size of the Trump reaction, both with his supporters and detractors, is something I’ve never witnessed around any other person. Some people seem to need you to share their reverence: “Donald John Trump is the greatest president this country has ever seen!” and others for you to be as upset and worried about him as they are: “This is unprecedented!”. (Yeah, I noticed). People are more hostile and unhinged even than earlier this century and 2 plus years of overzealous covid measures hasn’t helped our collective sanity.
Was Julius Caesar from some disreputable bloodline, a “non-elite” general?

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
11 months ago

I know what you mean, though I do think there’s a comparable if not equivalent trigger with AOC (that woke US congresswoman), Barack Obama, and maybe Hunter Biden in the reverse direction.
Certainly the size of the Trump reaction, both with his supporters and detractors, is something I’ve never witnessed around any other person. Some people seem to need you to share their reverence: “Donald John Trump is the greatest president this country has ever seen!” and others for you to be as upset and worried about him as they are: “This is unprecedented!”. (Yeah, I noticed). People are more hostile and unhinged even than earlier this century and 2 plus years of overzealous covid measures hasn’t helped our collective sanity.
Was Julius Caesar from some disreputable bloodline, a “non-elite” general?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

As an aside I am much amused by the vitriol that is produced by the mention of the names Trump, Johnson or Farage.

People I used to admire go completely berserk at the mention of these names and any sense of decency and common sense is immediately jettisoned!

The late Julius Caesar seems to have had the same problem with the self styled elite! Despite his much heralded ‘clemency’ it availed him nothing, and they ultimately stabbed him to death, as you well know!

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
11 months ago

Exactly. Lends more urgency to pagan inscription you often cite.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

Thank you.
Yes that would be very stimulating if one was stationed towards the top of the pile.

However life expectancy even there, was rather too short for most.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
11 months ago

And so the seeds of destruction were sowed. Ignoring the German miracle. German unions runs by craft ones whereas in Britain the un and semi skilled who promoted over manning and opposition to new technology. The ignoring of the integrated circuit, closure of Suez Canal and development of of 500K T carriers and movement of shipbuilding to Japan, opening of vast open cast coal mines on Mississippi Missouri river system, devlopment of Concorde rather than planes by B Wallis, having Cousins as Minister if technology under Wilson.
Charles, post 1945 we were living in a technological fools paradise. Our aircratf industry was destroyed, we failed to invest in computers and our best brains went overseas.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

Too true I’m afraid.
We were indeed living in a ‘fools paradise’, ALL paid for by the US and its very generous Marshall Aid Plan,, and the not quite so generous Stafford Cripps Loan(s).

Your choice of the Aircraft industry is apposite. All the wartime bravado of the Spitfire, Hurricane, Lancaster and Halifax! Then post ‘45 the debacle of the ‘Brabazon’, (Bristol), the Princess Flying boats (Saunders Roe), the Britannia ( Bristol again!) and the ill fated Comet (De Havilland) and so it went on and on, until the final fiasco of Concord(e) as you so rightly say.
Where now are any of those famous names, Handley Page, Supermarine, Vickers etc etc?

Of course many were deluded by the opiate of the NHS, “free at the point of sale”, such seductive utopian tosh!
For others it was the delusion that we were still a Great Power, when in reality we were a near bankrupt industrial cripple.

However for some, myself included , blissfully unaware of the catastrophe awaiting us, it was a very pleasant time, as I outlined in the previous post!

Last edited 11 months ago by Charles Stanhope
Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
11 months ago

We have a good future. What we have is vast spare tyre of ineffectual impractical effete left wing white collar middle class types, largely humanities graduates, in and around the public sector and plaque in our arteries. Lose these two types of fat and replace it with strong dense bone and muscle comprising enterprising innovative tough and technically skilled people and we can soar.
As all our great engineers know, especially when it comes to flight it is the power to weight, strength to weight ratios and volumes which are important. The Spitfire had a very low frontal area and The Merlin engine was smaller than the German engines and the power was increased from 900 HP to 1800 HP with use of two speed super charger. The Griffon at 36 L was only slightly larger than the Merlin.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
11 months ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

Since my ever-so-earnest other reply won’t post: On another board we can discuss the “extreme freedom” of a year (1914) when women could not yet vote, as young men were about to march to death in the trenches to secure freedom for Posterity (then return home to factory work and death by about age 60) and the non-oppressive, trivial influence of a State that could conscript you for being a drunk vagrant or cut off your head for publishing a pamphlet they didn’t like. Cheers.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
11 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

I was not saying the past was perfect. What I said was the freedom we enjoyed, our honesty and sense of fairplay enabled improvements to be made. Our freedom enbled our Agricultural and Industrial Revolutions to occur which meant in the first time in history freed humans from the fear of mass starvation. We have also been freed from the fear of military dictatorship. Enjoyed the rule of law.
Another fear Britain has been free of the is the mass slaughter and destruction of civilisations which has taken place, examples are Attila The Hun and collapse of Roman Empire, Genghis Khan, Timur the Lame , etc.
Even the murder rate in Britain was lower than in Europe.

One needs to contrast the life of the average Briton with those elsewhere in the World to appreciate what we have had in this country. The reality is that most intellectuals, especially of the Left have an inadequate grasp of History, especially World History and have never had responsibility for construction or life and death decisions in other parts of the World. Orwell served in Burma, hence his insights.
If a writer had served in combat from 1940, worked in the Punjub or Calcutta in 1947, Biafra late 1960s, East Pakistan in 1970 War, Ethiopia in early 1970s famine, Cambodia under Pol Plot, Jugoslavia, in 1990s, Algeria 1990s, or even Sicily during mafia conflicts of 1980s, they would realise how lucky they were to live in the English Speaking World. ,

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
11 months ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

That all fine enough, Charles. You don’t say it’s perfect, I admit, but sometimes still indulge in wholesale idealizations of certain historical periods.
I had to take issue with both “extreme freedom” and the notion that the British State was not oppressive or massive prior to 1914. In fact, the two centuries prior to 1914 saw the rise and initial decline of the UK’s truly global Empire. That’s as big as a State ever got in history, or likely ever will again. Mightn’t have felt that way to the lads around Liverpool docks and pubs, but even so.
All of us should recognize how lucky we are to live in the English- speaking world. As a left-leaning centrist “intellectual” (kind of) who, to my embarrassment, is fluent only in the Mother Tongue, I’m grateful that that tongue is the hybrid miracle of English language, with a global reach that exceeds that of Great Britain at her height.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
11 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

I have never said it was ideal. I said we were  free to make our mistakes. We grow by making mistakes learning from them; it is called sagacity. One cannot be wise after the event if one attempts nothing.
Barnes Wallis said the genius of the English was due to their individuality. People who are free to innovate, accept responsibility for success and failure, free to speak their mind, benefit from their industry, rise to the challenges of life, support themselves financially and defend themselves, physically and intellectually , provide charity to those who are deserving and unfortunate, become emotionally mature responsible adults. Those who do not, remain emotionally immature  spoilt  irresponsible  effete impractical children, dependent on others, blaming others for their failures, yet wanting to claim authority for  their successes.
The above comments were made by Orwell in his various essays.
Why did de Beauvoir not copy Andree de Jongh ?
Andrée de Jongh – Wikipedia
de jongh and other members of the Comet Line risked their lives smuggling airmen into Spain. Why is it left wing feminists do not set up as icons all those women who served in the Resistance in WW2 yet consider de Beauvoir an example to follow?

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
11 months ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

I don’t know. I’m not in sympathy with left- wing feminists as a group at all. Nor any left-wing faction as such. Not one. But if you think Tony Blair was far left-wing, for example, we have a different lack of mutual understanding at play too.
Please don’t group associate me with every viewpoint you think “someone like me” would share, if that is what you are doing; nearly all us of do that, at times, me included. Forgive me if I misread your latest reply, in part, as a challenge for me to defend left-wing feminism.
You have great understanding and appreciation for the idiosyncrasies and varieties of English character across various eras. You express this personal knowledge and acquired historical understanding of your nation’s character (characters) and history (histories) in thoughtful, informative, and entertaining ways. What I wish were less often the case: You make a one-side argument for the superiority of, for example, the 1950s over the 2020s or the tough working man over the soft intellectual. (By the way, though I’m not some big tough guy, I am not a weakling or picture of effeteness, despite my fancy talk; I come from an extended family of farmers and tire salesmen/mechanics and I have done real labor. I can act blunt and normal too, and in some ways I am, for real).
And you do suggest, even insist, that one is better. To keep saying otherwise is dishonest. I know there is a measure nuance and fairness from you too, but not neutrality–which is fine.
Underneath their periwigs, trousers, and Doc Martins, aren’t Englishmen across various ages rather more similar than you seem to allow? Aren’t they more similar to all Europeans, to Americans, to all men, than you seem to allow?
You my have the last word on the board if so inclined, Mr. Hedges.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
11 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

Blair is an ex Trotskyist. I have never said one period is superior to another. What I have said is that one needs to to look at all aspects of history, of one’s own country and others which is what Charles Northcote Parkinson has said and not just view it through a lense of watered down marxism.
As Orwell pointed out, the shallow self righteous carping power worshipping left wing middle class rentier intellectual who despised physical courage and patriotism of post 1930s Britain evolved into a very different species.
The Squire, farmer, labourer and craftsman were similar in outlook and fought together.
What I have said is that one ideally needs to thrive in life which means surviving the rough and tumble . The whole point of tough sports is to build character and be able to bounce back after falls – get back into the saddle. Whether one falls over on a hard surface or is hit in a mugging, sharp reflexes, agility and a robust physique is likely to reduce the damage and pain suffered. If one has to work out of doors in cold, wet and windy conditions a certain hardiness is an advantage. Complaining about the cold is the quickest way of alienating colleagues.
Proverbs clearly points out the obtaining skills, learning discernment, self discipline, developing wisdom are advantages .
My overal view is that to benefit from freedom and keep it, one needs to embrace responsibility and develop one’s abilities which means tempering one’s mind and body with adversity.
Booker T Washington said the African American should pursue entrepreneurship and education; J Kennedy said they should bear every burden and do not ask what the country can do for you, ask what you can do for one’s country and Dr M L King said ” “Judge me on my character “.
The Nazi threat was the greatest military threat to the world, especially if they had made a nuclear bomb.
Stalin said ” The British bought time,Americans materials and the Soviets blood “.
The time the British Empire bought between September 1939 and el Alamein in Autumn 1942 was bought by men and women already toughened from labour and sport.
Whether Violette Szabo GC ( The Greatest of Us All – Odette Hallows GC ) ” , Col Bill Hudson DSO OBE, Lt Col Paddy Blair Mayne DSO *** or Geoffrey Wellum DFC , a pilot in the Battle of Britain at 18 years of age, their aptitude was because they were fit, had superb reflexes and coordination from their sport. Britain did not have the time to develop tough people, luckily we had enough.
To paraphrase Wellington ” The Battle of Waterloo was won on the Playing Fields of Eton “.
Compare de Beauvoir with Szabo GC . De Beauvoir all talk, no action ; Szabo GC all action, no talk.
It comes down to a basic fact, intellectuals do not improve conditions: craftsmen and engineers do and those in the Armed Forces who endure combat to defend freedom.
The greatest skill of intellectuals is persuading people to pay them any attention. Marx developed class conflict, Joseph Bazelgette built sewers and reduced cholera.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
11 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

Blair is an ex Trotskyist. I have never said one period is superior to another. What I have said is that one needs to to look at all aspects of history, of one’s own country and others which is what Charles Northcote Parkinson has said and not just view it through a lense of watered down marxism.
As Orwell pointed out, the shallow self righteous carping power worshipping left wing middle class rentier intellectual who despised physical courage and patriotism of post 1930s Britain evolved into a very different species.
The Squire, farmer, labourer and craftsman were similar in outlook and fought together.
What I have said is that one ideally needs to thrive in life which means surviving the rough and tumble . The whole point of tough sports is to build character and be able to bounce back after falls – get back into the saddle. Whether one falls over on a hard surface or is hit in a mugging, sharp reflexes, agility and a robust physique is likely to reduce the damage and pain suffered. If one has to work out of doors in cold, wet and windy conditions a certain hardiness is an advantage. Complaining about the cold is the quickest way of alienating colleagues.
Proverbs clearly points out the obtaining skills, learning discernment, self discipline, developing wisdom are advantages .
My overal view is that to benefit from freedom and keep it, one needs to embrace responsibility and develop one’s abilities which means tempering one’s mind and body with adversity.
Booker T Washington said the African American should pursue entrepreneurship and education; J Kennedy said they should bear every burden and do not ask what the country can do for you, ask what you can do for one’s country and Dr M L King said ” “Judge me on my character “.
The Nazi threat was the greatest military threat to the world, especially if they had made a nuclear bomb.
Stalin said ” The British bought time,Americans materials and the Soviets blood “.
The time the British Empire bought between September 1939 and el Alamein in Autumn 1942 was bought by men and women already toughened from labour and sport.
Whether Violette Szabo GC ( The Greatest of Us All – Odette Hallows GC ) ” , Col Bill Hudson DSO OBE, Lt Col Paddy Blair Mayne DSO *** or Geoffrey Wellum DFC , a pilot in the Battle of Britain at 18 years of age, their aptitude was because they were fit, had superb reflexes and coordination from their sport. Britain did not have the time to develop tough people, luckily we had enough.
To paraphrase Wellington ” The Battle of Waterloo was won on the Playing Fields of Eton “.
Compare de Beauvoir with Szabo GC . De Beauvoir all talk, no action ; Szabo GC all action, no talk.
It comes down to a basic fact, intellectuals do not improve conditions: craftsmen and engineers do and those in the Armed Forces who endure combat to defend freedom.
The greatest skill of intellectuals is persuading people to pay them any attention. Marx developed class conflict, Joseph Bazelgette built sewers and reduced cholera.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
11 months ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

I don’t know. I’m not in sympathy with left- wing feminists as a group at all. Nor any left-wing faction as such. Not one. But if you think Tony Blair was far left-wing, for example, we have a different lack of mutual understanding at play too.
Please don’t group associate me with every viewpoint you think “someone like me” would share, if that is what you are doing; nearly all us of do that, at times, me included. Forgive me if I misread your latest reply, in part, as a challenge for me to defend left-wing feminism.
You have great understanding and appreciation for the idiosyncrasies and varieties of English character across various eras. You express this personal knowledge and acquired historical understanding of your nation’s character (characters) and history (histories) in thoughtful, informative, and entertaining ways. What I wish were less often the case: You make a one-side argument for the superiority of, for example, the 1950s over the 2020s or the tough working man over the soft intellectual. (By the way, though I’m not some big tough guy, I am not a weakling or picture of effeteness, despite my fancy talk; I come from an extended family of farmers and tire salesmen/mechanics and I have done real labor. I can act blunt and normal too, and in some ways I am, for real).
And you do suggest, even insist, that one is better. To keep saying otherwise is dishonest. I know there is a measure nuance and fairness from you too, but not neutrality–which is fine.
Underneath their periwigs, trousers, and Doc Martins, aren’t Englishmen across various ages rather more similar than you seem to allow? Aren’t they more similar to all Europeans, to Americans, to all men, than you seem to allow?
You my have the last word on the board if so inclined, Mr. Hedges.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
11 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

I have never said it was ideal. I said we were  free to make our mistakes. We grow by making mistakes learning from them; it is called sagacity. One cannot be wise after the event if one attempts nothing.
Barnes Wallis said the genius of the English was due to their individuality. People who are free to innovate, accept responsibility for success and failure, free to speak their mind, benefit from their industry, rise to the challenges of life, support themselves financially and defend themselves, physically and intellectually , provide charity to those who are deserving and unfortunate, become emotionally mature responsible adults. Those who do not, remain emotionally immature  spoilt  irresponsible  effete impractical children, dependent on others, blaming others for their failures, yet wanting to claim authority for  their successes.
The above comments were made by Orwell in his various essays.
Why did de Beauvoir not copy Andree de Jongh ?
Andrée de Jongh – Wikipedia
de jongh and other members of the Comet Line risked their lives smuggling airmen into Spain. Why is it left wing feminists do not set up as icons all those women who served in the Resistance in WW2 yet consider de Beauvoir an example to follow?

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
11 months ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

That all fine enough, Charles. You don’t say it’s perfect, I admit, but sometimes still indulge in wholesale idealizations of certain historical periods.
I had to take issue with both “extreme freedom” and the notion that the British State was not oppressive or massive prior to 1914. In fact, the two centuries prior to 1914 saw the rise and initial decline of the UK’s truly global Empire. That’s as big as a State ever got in history, or likely ever will again. Mightn’t have felt that way to the lads around Liverpool docks and pubs, but even so.
All of us should recognize how lucky we are to live in the English- speaking world. As a left-leaning centrist “intellectual” (kind of) who, to my embarrassment, is fluent only in the Mother Tongue, I’m grateful that that tongue is the hybrid miracle of English language, with a global reach that exceeds that of Great Britain at her height.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
11 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

I was not saying the past was perfect. What I said was the freedom we enjoyed, our honesty and sense of fairplay enabled improvements to be made. Our freedom enbled our Agricultural and Industrial Revolutions to occur which meant in the first time in history freed humans from the fear of mass starvation. We have also been freed from the fear of military dictatorship. Enjoyed the rule of law.
Another fear Britain has been free of the is the mass slaughter and destruction of civilisations which has taken place, examples are Attila The Hun and collapse of Roman Empire, Genghis Khan, Timur the Lame , etc.
Even the murder rate in Britain was lower than in Europe.

One needs to contrast the life of the average Briton with those elsewhere in the World to appreciate what we have had in this country. The reality is that most intellectuals, especially of the Left have an inadequate grasp of History, especially World History and have never had responsibility for construction or life and death decisions in other parts of the World. Orwell served in Burma, hence his insights.
If a writer had served in combat from 1940, worked in the Punjub or Calcutta in 1947, Biafra late 1960s, East Pakistan in 1970 War, Ethiopia in early 1970s famine, Cambodia under Pol Plot, Jugoslavia, in 1990s, Algeria 1990s, or even Sicily during mafia conflicts of 1980s, they would realise how lucky they were to live in the English Speaking World. ,

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

I admire you confidence!

As you say the ‘sclerotic’ Civil Service is the problem, and its fantastic index linked pensions are an even greater one.
Given its gargantuan size, it now has ‘critical mass’ and does what it dam well pleases. In short it is a national disgrace, and probably beyond reform.

I didn’t know that about the Merlin, thank you.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
11 months ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

Since my ever-so-earnest other reply won’t post: On another board we can discuss the “extreme freedom” of a year (1914) when women could not yet vote, as young men were about to march to death in the trenches to secure freedom for Posterity (then return home to factory work and death by about age 60) and the non-oppressive, trivial influence of a State that could conscript you for being a drunk vagrant or cut off your head for publishing a pamphlet they didn’t like. Cheers.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

I admire you confidence!

As you say the ‘sclerotic’ Civil Service is the problem, and its fantastic index linked pensions are an even greater one.
Given its gargantuan size, it now has ‘critical mass’ and does what it dam well pleases. In short it is a national disgrace, and probably beyond reform.

I didn’t know that about the Merlin, thank you.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
11 months ago

We have a good future. What we have is vast spare tyre of ineffectual impractical effete left wing white collar middle class types, largely humanities graduates, in and around the public sector and plaque in our arteries. Lose these two types of fat and replace it with strong dense bone and muscle comprising enterprising innovative tough and technically skilled people and we can soar.
As all our great engineers know, especially when it comes to flight it is the power to weight, strength to weight ratios and volumes which are important. The Spitfire had a very low frontal area and The Merlin engine was smaller than the German engines and the power was increased from 900 HP to 1800 HP with use of two speed super charger. The Griffon at 36 L was only slightly larger than the Merlin.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

Too true I’m afraid.
We were indeed living in a ‘fools paradise’, ALL paid for by the US and its very generous Marshall Aid Plan,, and the not quite so generous Stafford Cripps Loan(s).

Your choice of the Aircraft industry is apposite. All the wartime bravado of the Spitfire, Hurricane, Lancaster and Halifax! Then post ‘45 the debacle of the ‘Brabazon’, (Bristol), the Princess Flying boats (Saunders Roe), the Britannia ( Bristol again!) and the ill fated Comet (De Havilland) and so it went on and on, until the final fiasco of Concord(e) as you so rightly say.
Where now are any of those famous names, Handley Page, Supermarine, Vickers etc etc?

Of course many were deluded by the opiate of the NHS, “free at the point of sale”, such seductive utopian tosh!
For others it was the delusion that we were still a Great Power, when in reality we were a near bankrupt industrial cripple.

However for some, myself included , blissfully unaware of the catastrophe awaiting us, it was a very pleasant time, as I outlined in the previous post!

Last edited 11 months ago by Charles Stanhope
AJ Mac
AJ Mac
11 months ago

Spanning two decades is kind of cheating…but I’ll allow it! Wouldn’t you truly rather “return” to 65-55 BC though?

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
11 months ago

And so the seeds of destruction were sowed. Ignoring the German miracle. German unions runs by craft ones whereas in Britain the un and semi skilled who promoted over manning and opposition to new technology. The ignoring of the integrated circuit, closure of Suez Canal and development of of 500K T carriers and movement of shipbuilding to Japan, opening of vast open cast coal mines on Mississippi Missouri river system, devlopment of Concorde rather than planes by B Wallis, having Cousins as Minister if technology under Wilson.
Charles, post 1945 we were living in a technological fools paradise. Our aircratf industry was destroyed, we failed to invest in computers and our best brains went overseas.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  John Riordan

1955-1965. War over but we were still basking in the illusion that we HAD won it!

Some of the old Empire still standing, and a joy to visit on say a Union Castle Liner to Cape Town, or if to the old American colonies then it was RMS Queen Mary to New York, and if ‘down under’ then it had to be P&O.

Something like a proper Tory government in power. Additionally nearly everyone in government and opposition had actually fought in the War.

The NHS staffed by indomitable figures as portrayed by the late Hattie Jacques. Oxbridge still very much in the ‘Porterhouse Blue’ era.

Capital Punishment still in full ‘swing’, but it was very much a ‘green and pleasant land’. Enid Blyton holidays to Cornwall hauled by the fabled Atlantic Coast Express (ACE) or the Cornish Riviera Express, still in Great Western (GWR) livery.

Jobs galore and rising wages, rationing finished in ‘54, so time to spend. ‘The City’ still a revered institution where “ my word is my bond” really did mean that, and woe betide any who transgressed!

The birth of the television revolution, but we still had the fabulous BBC World Service for those who craved ‘real’ news and comment, in addition to the revered London Times, otherwise known as ‘The Times’!

Putting down my rose tinted Zeiss Binoculars for a moment, there were obviously dark clouds ahead but for most of us it was a case of “Occ est vivere”- that is to live’!

‘Sic transit gloria Mundi’.

Last edited 11 months ago by Charles Stanhope
jim peden
jim peden
11 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

Good question. I remember the 90s when it felt – for a few years after the fall of the Berlin wall – that there had been an outbreak of common sense.

I think Walter Marvell is right to say that our freedoms of thought and word have been eroded over the past couple of decades. If the UK government thinks it a good idea to create a ‘nudge unit’ to get its way by propagandising the man in the street then I take that as a sign of a “corrupted undemocratic public space”. There are many other indicators as the recent public health interventions amply demonstrated.

We’re in an information war and its outcome is far from certain but I’m more optimistic about the future because we do have a growing and erudite band of critics and dissenters who have been given a voice through unherd, substack and others.

Last edited 11 months ago by jim peden
Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
11 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

I am not harking back with nostalgia to any decade in particular AJ. I am looking at the present. What I am expressing is an ever deepening troubling awareness here in the UK that our bedrock fundamental values and practices are being swept away by the double revolution of Modernizing Blairism (97) and us becoming a compliant EU Clone Statelet (92). The most basic belief was faith in the fairness of our law, confidence in the right to live freely and to speak bravely without coercive tyrannical intervention by an overbearing unchecked State. All these beliefs have been shattered. We have seen a vast new and detached political class ‘do a Trump’ and seek to overturn a referendum result that it hated. We have seen our housing and labour markets crash and warp through a combination of mass uncontrolled immigration (+6/8m) and a linked rigged property boom which made said elite as rich as Croesus. Common law- the thread linking us to our past and the best guarantor of liberty – has been subverted by codified European and human right laws often hostile to the public will (see the unchecked criminal people trade over the channel and the utter impotence of the elected Executive). Todays small news see farmers and hunts and all de-banked by the Woke Establishment and MI5 repeat the insidious cowardly lie that right wing terrorists on the web are a greater threat than Islamists. Then look at Kathleen’s own story to see the powers exerted by hate mobs flying under the flag of supposed diversity and the crushing in civic society and in the captured public sector of any dissent to the new State credos. This is not how it was AJ. Ever. But our resistance is futile as the political classes, lawyers, State machine and media have all – for the first time – united to enforce their zealotry (EDI, BLM, Net Zero, Climate Boiling, Mass Migration, Super secularism) upon us. This is new. This is like no other England. And yes, too right, all four writers would be alert to the acrid stench of growing tyranny and the repression of individual liberty.

Martin Butler
Martin Butler
11 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

Are you new to Unherd comments? The comment you are discussing is par for the course here. Tediously predictable.

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
11 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

“…What previous decade, if not idealized Golden Age, do you long to re-inhabit or restore?…”

I would take the 80s, and rerun them for all of eternity.

Mark M Breza
Mark M Breza
11 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

The Mauve Decade !o!

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
11 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

You are correct to some extent. Yes, freedom is like a house that needs maintaining or else it eventually rots and crumbles, and each era has its unique set of challenges in obtaining that freedom. However, what makes our times very different is the unprecedented advance of state and corporate surveillance technologies together with the speed with which once-trusted public institutions no longer hold the pursuit of truth and objectivity as a cherished ideal.
Yes, there is a lot of doom-and-gloom thinking on Unherd, but I’d rather that than the spite and vitriol seen in the comments section in publications such as the Guardian. By talking about current events, even to the point of ad nauseam, a way may be discovered to change or reverse course.
Personally, I think the 24-hour news cycle is to blame. We’re presented with so much information that our brains simply cannot process it all, and so we are retreating into ideological bubbles which profit-seeking news sites (including Unherd) are tapping into. It’s much like when the printing press became widespread and people started believing in witches and demons again. I’m not sure what the antidote to this is, but I think it is important to remember our humanness and the humanness of those who the media are all-too-willing to paint as foes or enemies.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
11 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

The ideal is real. It felt that way in my childhood in the 50s. Much has been lost.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
11 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

I can remember a time when my friends and acquaintances didn’t care about my politics. Now it’s the entire basis on which we judge each other.

Pol Pot was not a historical aberration but a grim warning of what the future may hold if we are not as militant in defence of enlightenment values as the progressives in their attempt to replace them.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
11 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

A Bryant points out from 1660 to end of 18th century dominant policy was freedom. Even pre 1914 , there was little evidence of the State. There was much resistance to starting the Police as a threat to freedom in the 1830s as men were expected to defend themselves. No pay for MPs and as land owners had no wish to be away from their estates.
The Civil Service was created in 1857 and was minimal in number. Pre 1914, the Army was small , officers went about life out of uniform. As Orwell pointed out there has never been a naval dictatorship.
The English tradition was that one could do what one wanted unless there was law preventing it. There was no droit administratif in England. The Continental system was that one could only do something if a law permitted it. There was no income tax until the Napoleonic wars and then it was low , no death duties.
The people were extremely free, pre 1914 taxes were minimal, the state was minimal, one could buy guns from hardware shops, no conscription, laws were few and those which existed were upheld and people were expected to support and defend themselves.

marjan m
marjan m
11 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

I think something changed when we criminalized speech. That was new and has a very strong effect on our ability to think.

John Riordan
John Riordan
11 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

“What previous decade, if not idealized Golden Age, do you long to re-inhabit or restore?”

Short answer is the 1990s. The trick would be working out how to stop it turning into the noughties with its banking crisis and the gradual collapse that followed.

Or perhaps I’m only saying that because I was in my late 20s / early 30s, earning a lot of money and having the time of my life.

Last edited 11 months ago by John Riordan
Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
11 months ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

I grew up in N Ireland mate. I’m used to it lol

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

Bad luck!

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

Bad luck!

Martin Butler
Martin Butler
11 months ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

As so often in the Unherd comments an article is simply an excuse for the same old rant – predictably focusing on immigration, the EU (even though we’ve left), and what is best described as the ‘political correctness gone mad’ lobby. In the world that I live in these come pretty low down my immediate concerns. Getting somewhere affordable to live comes little higher.
From this comment you would have thought we had been living under the yoke of a Corbyn government for the last 13 years.

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
11 months ago
Reply to  Martin Butler

Have a peek at Corbyn’s Manifesto. The Lockdown NHS First State of Boris Johnson exceeded the wildest dreams of Jezza!!
We are well and truly yoked. The Fool/Chancer raised the flag of profilgate Furlo money tree socialist economics, pulversed enterprise with windfall, dividend and corp taxes plus more suffocating regulation, entrenched the sickly progressive culture of me me entitlement greviance and victimhood with State bailouts; and he empowered the Remainiac Wokist Blob..(which duly went and shafted him and assorted Brex Bullies). Jezza is laughing his head on his allotment trust me!!! The only Jezza policy the Tories avoided was exiting NATO (tho the military are starved of funds) and inviting Hezbollah & PIRA vets to dine with Queen and Corgis at Windsor My post was not some rant about mass migration; that was just one of many examples of revolutionary acts knowingly enforced without popular consent. It was about the New Tyranny and suppression of individual freedom. I want the brilliant Kathleen to turn her mind to the present battle, not the past.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
11 months ago
Reply to  Martin Butler

Your style really isn’t appropriate to this forum. It would be better to debate the specifics of what people say than to continually post these frankly rather snotty blanket dismissals.

Alternatively you could spend your time somewhere where your style of debate is more the norm. The Guardian perhaps.

Coralie Palmer
Coralie Palmer
11 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Telling someone to go and post elsewhere is simply infantile. Just the same as Grauniad poster saying ‘you’ll be happier in the Mail’. I didn’t find the poster’s comment particularly inappropriate. He’s just expressing his opinion like everyone else.

Coralie Palmer
Coralie Palmer
11 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Telling someone to go and post elsewhere is simply infantile. Just the same as Grauniad poster saying ‘you’ll be happier in the Mail’. I didn’t find the poster’s comment particularly inappropriate. He’s just expressing his opinion like everyone else.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
11 months ago
Reply to  Martin Butler

Immigration increases demand and therefore cost of housing. A country which sends people to read low grade arts degrees rather than trade skills means cost of construction of housing increases. Political correctness increases admin cost of house builders, all those in HR departments.

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
11 months ago
Reply to  Martin Butler

Have a peek at Corbyn’s Manifesto. The Lockdown NHS First State of Boris Johnson exceeded the wildest dreams of Jezza!!
We are well and truly yoked. The Fool/Chancer raised the flag of profilgate Furlo money tree socialist economics, pulversed enterprise with windfall, dividend and corp taxes plus more suffocating regulation, entrenched the sickly progressive culture of me me entitlement greviance and victimhood with State bailouts; and he empowered the Remainiac Wokist Blob..(which duly went and shafted him and assorted Brex Bullies). Jezza is laughing his head on his allotment trust me!!! The only Jezza policy the Tories avoided was exiting NATO (tho the military are starved of funds) and inviting Hezbollah & PIRA vets to dine with Queen and Corgis at Windsor My post was not some rant about mass migration; that was just one of many examples of revolutionary acts knowingly enforced without popular consent. It was about the New Tyranny and suppression of individual freedom. I want the brilliant Kathleen to turn her mind to the present battle, not the past.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
11 months ago
Reply to  Martin Butler

Your style really isn’t appropriate to this forum. It would be better to debate the specifics of what people say than to continually post these frankly rather snotty blanket dismissals.

Alternatively you could spend your time somewhere where your style of debate is more the norm. The Guardian perhaps.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
11 months ago
Reply to  Martin Butler

Immigration increases demand and therefore cost of housing. A country which sends people to read low grade arts degrees rather than trade skills means cost of construction of housing increases. Political correctness increases admin cost of house builders, all those in HR departments.

Mark M Breza
Mark M Breza
11 months ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

Ah the horror of the 1st person ! All the ones who start their sentences and paragraphs with the word “I” thinking the world is going to end ?
Is that why this is called the ‘I’ Gender Generation ?
Aye, Aye

Last edited 11 months ago by Mark M Breza
Mark M Breza
Mark M Breza
11 months ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

Statistics prove otherwise. A lot of anecdotal stories instead of empirical proof being put forth in the comments. Aye,Aye.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
11 months ago
Reply to  Mark M Breza

Do you perchance work on a pirate ship?

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
11 months ago
Reply to  Mark M Breza

Just airy fairy anecdotes? Oh really? To quote Logan Roy, you are not a serious person. Lets do the Empircals. You disagree that A. There has been a massive unplanned influx of population since the 90s?? It exceeds the pop of Norway and some. The latest annual gross inflow was 1.2m – with no housing reservoirs and public services ready for the rush to unexpected 70m state. Proof enough? B. You deny that the tax take is at all time high (non dom I guess) and the house price inflation that saw London semis ride from 300k to 1.3m at least in a decade. Strange… C. Bailout Denial. Well we start with the Banks in 2008. Breza has missed QE of 900bn and needs a peek at his tax return to check up on the stunning sums we all now pay to service the national debt as interest rates surge….and the energy bailouts and extra millions post lockdown on benefits. Furlough? NHS expenditure? What more proofs do you need?

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
11 months ago
Reply to  Mark M Breza

Do you perchance work on a pirate ship?

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
11 months ago
Reply to  Mark M Breza

Just airy fairy anecdotes? Oh really? To quote Logan Roy, you are not a serious person. Lets do the Empircals. You disagree that A. There has been a massive unplanned influx of population since the 90s?? It exceeds the pop of Norway and some. The latest annual gross inflow was 1.2m – with no housing reservoirs and public services ready for the rush to unexpected 70m state. Proof enough? B. You deny that the tax take is at all time high (non dom I guess) and the house price inflation that saw London semis ride from 300k to 1.3m at least in a decade. Strange… C. Bailout Denial. Well we start with the Banks in 2008. Breza has missed QE of 900bn and needs a peek at his tax return to check up on the stunning sums we all now pay to service the national debt as interest rates surge….and the energy bailouts and extra millions post lockdown on benefits. Furlough? NHS expenditure? What more proofs do you need?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

The subversion of the Judiciary being the most serious of ALL the calamities that have befallen us.
The day you cannot trust a British Judge is a sad day indeed.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
11 months ago

Arthur Bryant would agree with you.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
11 months ago

Arthur Bryant would agree with you.

Andrew S
Andrew S
11 months ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

Great Britain had not been invaded for hundreds of years and the USA has had secure borders ever since the treaties with us and Mexico. Continental Europe thought it had, this time, found a way to avoid invasion and foreign dominance, at least other than that which was willingly entered into by their politicians (membership of the EU).

The left had been infiltrating institutions for decades but the pace was faster over the past 30-40 years. Roughly when we thought we had seen-off the Societ threat the left accelerated their mission. The theory of the end of history was a convenient one for the political class because they could lazily allow security to wither and serious thinking could be avoided, not that many of them outside the left have ever wanted to do much thinking.

We are experiencing what many peoples have experienced in the past. The overthrow of all we thought was stable and secure and we have no power to change it. All Westminster parties accept the changes and in the USA the Democrats are leading in alliance with some very extreme people while RINOs think the marginal tax rate, gun carrying and abortion are the only important issues (I do not deny these have importance but the loss of all else is surely more significant).
In the UK it is very very difficult to get a new party going. Perhaps we will have to establish campaigning groups instead but banks and the Electoral Commission will be principoal opponents to be overcome first.
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Art-Impossible-political-probably-shouldnt/dp/178590812X

Paul Nathanson
Paul Nathanson
11 months ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

My comment is not so much about your comment, Walter, but about the many and lengthy comments that follow it. What unites them, for my purpose here, is a notion that I find somewhat disturbing, one that revolves around the question of comparative suffering (who suffers more, “us” or “them”?) but applied to history (which period is worse, “now” or “then”?) instead of demography. I’ve discussed the former elsewhere, so I won’t repeat myself unless someone wants me to do so. The latter, however, is indirectly related to Stock’s article but also directly related to the current discussion
I think that it’s a serious mistake to rank historical periods according to personal and current moral standards, because our own subjectivity or smugness gets in the way. Some periods are remembered as golden ages for reasons that still make sense even after hundreds of years– Elizabethan England, the Age of Reason, Vedic India, Moorish Spain and so on–despite the fact that not everyone experienced them as halcyon days or that many today would point to flaws inherent in their very greatness. Other periods, of course, are remembered as dark ages–despite the fact that they laid the foundations for much that we value today.
My point is that both nostalgia and “presentism” often lead to distorted notions of the world in which we actually live. Does it really matter if woke totalitarianism is either worse or better than Nazi or Soviet or Maoist totalitarianism? What matters is surely that the seemingly sudden explosion of a destructive ideology, formerly contained on the academic periphery under various names, has emerged as one of the most dangerous features of life in our time and must therefore be faced with honesty, courage and tenacity in the face of daunting foes–even daunting odds. Doing so is precisely what allows us to replace cynicism with some measure of hope, after all, if not for the present then for the future.
In short, both despair over what has come to pass (as if it were the new fall of Rome) and trivialization of it (as it were no more than one political fashion in a long line of them) are less than helpful. Stock profiles these four intellectual leaders from the mid-twentieth century (although she could have chosen many others) at least partly because they remain admirable for rejecting evil in the particular form that it took in their own time. They had their job. We have ours. Wokism is what confronts us.

Last edited 11 months ago by Paul Nathanson
AJ Mac
AJ Mac
11 months ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

I’m genuinely curious: What previous decade, if not idealized Golden Age, do you long to re-inhabit or restore? You also use capital-f Fall to suggest the prelapsarian paradise of Eden. I understand and do not dispute that the ruling mood, as a casual diagnosis, seems trapped and suspicious, at a global, national, and neighborhood level. Yet I don’t remember a period within my lifetime of about half-a-century when people, in a general or prevailing way, felt free or trustful of institutions. Somewhat more so, yes. What was the consensus view during the Thatcher or John Major years?
You seem to be saying that there is some new or singular hopelessness afoot in Britain. Is this present malaise, fear, and mutual distrust across multiple boundaries–across the Atlantic the worst since just before and just after I was born–something new in kind rather than degree? Was the window between the actual World Wars and Tony Blair a time of freedom, without threat of annihilation, or menace from previous generations of far-left ideologues with some measure of institutional capture?
Maybe, but I’ve been hearing that we’re all doomed and have fallen off the true path since I was very young, and my perusal of old books indicates a history of such sentiments since way before the birth of Jesus. In fact we are all doomed, in the sense that no one makes it out of this world alive. In my view we are just hearing the same doom-talk, angst, and genuine agony that have been interwoven into the human condition since the expulsion from the Garden. More so than in many recent decades, granted. But one has always had to fight to be free, on an individual and grander scale too. True human freedom has always been brief or rare, potential and aspirational for most. Nearly all taste it, few achieve any hold thereupon, and those lucky few may have grace to thank more than themselves alone.
Would any of Stock’s four thinkers consider ours a time of singular “unfreedom” or Blobular Statism?

Last edited 11 months ago by AJ Mac
Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
11 months ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

I grew up in N Ireland mate. I’m used to it lol

Martin Butler
Martin Butler
11 months ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

As so often in the Unherd comments an article is simply an excuse for the same old rant – predictably focusing on immigration, the EU (even though we’ve left), and what is best described as the ‘political correctness gone mad’ lobby. In the world that I live in these come pretty low down my immediate concerns. Getting somewhere affordable to live comes little higher.
From this comment you would have thought we had been living under the yoke of a Corbyn government for the last 13 years.

Mark M Breza
Mark M Breza
11 months ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

Ah the horror of the 1st person ! All the ones who start their sentences and paragraphs with the word “I” thinking the world is going to end ?
Is that why this is called the ‘I’ Gender Generation ?
Aye, Aye

Last edited 11 months ago by Mark M Breza