THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
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April 2018

What is it about the Jews?

I never encountered anti-semitism until I went to work in Poland in 1992. I was a partner in a Jewish law firm, by which I mean it had been founded by Jewish lawyers and most of the partners were Jewish. I don't remember considering the matter when deciding to apply for a job and it didn't occur to me that it might feature in their decision to hire me. Clearly, it didn't as they didn't even ask.  My new boss sent his secretary to my office on my first day at work to ask if I would be free for a meeting on a certain date. I remember thinking that it was a dumb question as I had just arrived and my diary was empty. I went through the motions of checking and had my pen poised to write something in when she said, "No, that's fine. He'll get back to you." He didn't. When I mentioned to a Jewish colleague that I thought it was a puzzling episode he laughed and said "That's a holy day. He was checking." Even then it didn't occur to me that my faith, or lack of it, might affect my future career. It didn't. Within two years they offered me a partnership.

So I was surprised when a colleague in Warsaw told me that the general counsel of a Polish client kept asking him whether I was Jewish or not. "Why does he ask?" I said and my colleague told me that the guy was something of a Catholic Nationalist anti-semite and was probably unhappy that his company had hired us. "What shall I tell him?" he asked me and I said he should say he didn't know. "Let him wonder", I said. "Let any assholes to whom it matters wonder and if it matters enough for them not to hire us then screw them!"

Years later, I was invited, by a Jewish friend who had project managed the restoration, to the re-opening of a synagogue in Oświęcim (better known to the world by the name, Auschwitz, that it bore during its darkest days under German occupation). For the first time in my life I was wearing a yarmulke, handed to me by the Chief Rabbi of Poland, whose daughter was in the same class at school as Miss P the Elder. The event attracted international coverage and I apparently appeared on the television news as, at two metres / 6' 7" tall, I towered above the crowd. When I got to the office in Warsaw the next day, the colleague who had asked what to say to our anti-semitic client during my first month in Poland laughed. He said this had finally answered the question and that the office was buzzing. I was the office managing partner by this time and was rather shocked by the idea that there might be anti-semites in our own ranks. So I made a point of leaving my yarmulke on my desk as a kind of talisman to scare them away.

It was about this point that I came up with one of my jokes to use at Warsaw parties. "How does a Jew become Polish?" it went. "He wins the Nobel Prize." That's unfair to most modern, reasonable Poles, you understand, but satirises a tendency even for them to distinguish "Jews" from "Poles" when they mean to distinguish Jewish from Catholic Poles. If you ever want to wind up a less reasonable Pole, you might try mentioning the arguably Jewish heritage of their "Shakespeare", Adam Mickiewicz. How hard they defend him from such a "slur" is a jolly good litmus test of their anti-semitism.

I don't really get racism. I never did. It's fairly obvious that we are all Homo sapiens and that evolution has simply varied our skin tones to adapt to the intensity of the sunlight where our ancestors lived and ensure us paler people get our Vitamin D. Who could possibly care about that? Racism based on skin colour, however, at least addresses visible difference. It doesn't make sense but it's a stupidity the origins of which can at least be understood. Jews on the other hand are indistinguishable unless (as in the case of some Orthodox) they make a point of standing out. The one moment when I understood how anti-semitism might arise, occurred when I was celebrating a deal-closing in NYC at the offices of a famous Jewish real estate guy. We were drinking champagne out of paper cups and when I asked why they were cheaping-out on glassware I was told that the boss couldn't drink from a vessel that might previously have been used by a goy. That didn't make me anti-semitic you understand, but it did make me think "... these guys could use some PR".

Polish friends patiently explained to me, during various conversations over my decade+ living in their country, that Christianity, and specifically Catholicism, had created anti-semitism in Europe. I remember a colleague who had grown up in a backwards rural area of the country telling me that his own Catholic priest had ranted from the pulpit about "the killers of Christ". "But the Holocaust happened here!" I exclaimed, shocked, "... how could a post-war priest still be an anti-semite when the Church has denounced the idea?" He couldn't explain it and I still don't get it. Ideas persist despite evidence and experience to a very shocking extent. As witness the young Poles who are Social Justice Warriors today when their parents were inoculated against leftism by growing up amid its terrible consequences and their grandparents are mostly still there to tell them precisely what socialism was like. "Clogs to clogs in three generations" as Sir Keith Joseph told a young me when I said I was bothered by the idea of inherited wealth. "The hog cycle" as economists call it, when people fail to remember history.

So if a warped interpretation of Christianity is what gave us anti-semitism in Europe and if an accurate interpretation of the teachings of Mohammed is what brought it back by way of Muslim immigration, how come such a mind-bogglingly stupid idea is now most evident on the Left of British politics rather than on the Right? Marxists oblivious to the ethnicity of Marx and Trotsky? Atheists informed by religious medievalism, for goodness sake?

"But it's not about Judaism", they say, "it's about the State of Israel". The wrongs of the Holocaust, say those Momentum-ites who don't deny it, don't justify the misconduct of modern Jews in the Middle East. Fair enough. I am a supporter of Israel, for the good reason that it's the only democracy in the region and that its Arab citizens have the vote and equal civil rights. It's a tolerant place where dissent is permitted, gays are not thrown off roofs and apostasy (from any religion) is not a criminal offence. That kind of liberalism is rather unusual in the Middle East, to put it mildly. I also support Israel because of the thought experiment posed by one of my Israeli friends, an eminent lawyer who is also, as it happens, on the Left. "Disarm Israel's enemies" he said, "and you will have peace. Disarm Israel and you will have genocide." A cursory read of the Hamas Charter or a few minutes spent watching videos published by MEMRI suggests he is right. Nonetheless I would not suggest that Israel never does wrong. Nor, obviously, would I seek to prevent it from being criticised. 

How then to distinguish between being anti-Israel and anti-semitic? They clearly have the potential to be two different things, even if they do often seem to coincide in the same people. One of the wisest chaps I know (sadly not personally) Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks explained it like this. 

Not liking Jews is not antisemitism. We all have people we don’t like. That’s OK; that’s human; it isn’t dangerous. Second, criticizing Israel is not antisemitism. I was recently talking to some schoolchildren and they asked me: is criticizing Israel antisemitism? I said No and I explained the difference. I asked them: Do you believe you have a right to criticize the British government? They all put up their hands. Then I asked, Which of you believes that Britain has no right to exist? No one put up their hands. Now you know the difference, I said, and they all did.

The speech to the European Parliament in which he told that story can be viewed in full here.

Pace the good rabbi, if anti-semitism was "only about Jews" it would still matter.  Jews matter not because they are Jews, but because they are human. No different qualification is required. That anyone thinks a better qualification than being a human is required to enjoy particular human rights is precisely what is wrong with our society today. Every time someone speaks of "Gay Rights" or "Women's Rights" or "Black Rights" or "Muslim Rights" or uses the phrase "hate crimes" I am immediately on my guard. Such people are more than likely to be a threat to human rights in general.

Damn it, how often does this need to be said before tribalists stop blathering? The whole point of the post-Enlightenment West is that every individual matters, regardless of who they are. Not just anti-semitism but tribalism in general is the virus that, as Rabbi Sacks says, keeps mutating. The only valid reason to regard an individual as better or worse is, as Dr King famously said (but as the Left seems to have forgotten) "the content of his character." The only valid reason to treat an individual differently before the law is his or her conduct. Amen to that. 

Can we please redefine our political terms?

An obscure Danish "comedian", resident in London, has made a small stir on Twitter by announcing she has auto-blocked more than 500,000 "Nazis". I am one of the blocked Twitter users so she has, in effect, publicly called me a Nazi. I consider that to be defamatory, but she's probably not worth suing, alas.

This was a silly stunt on her part. I very much doubt there are as many as 500,000 neo-Nazis in the world at large, let alone on Twitter. Most of the world's authoritarians are now motivated, directly or indirectly, by Marxism or religious fundamentalism. As a libertarian, I could scarcely be further from being an authoritarian, nationalist, socialist and believer in Aryan supremacy. A state as small as the one I want would be of very little interest to authoritarians of any stripe. The non aggression principle (NAP) that is the basis of Libertarian thought leaves no scope for their bullying instincts. They could achieve more of what they want (control over the details of their fellow-humans' conduct and the ability to live by others' work) by running a reality TV show than by working in such a government. One of the great advantages of a libertarian government is that it would not attract the kind of parasitical busybodies into its ranks who are drawn like flies to shit to a modern welfare state.

So what does the word "Nazi" – freely banded about as a term of abuse by "antifa" and others on the Left – really mean these days, if anything? For that matter, what do all the other political descriptors mean? In Britain, we have a "Conservative" government that embraces identity politics, setting one group against another in society. It is as far from "One Nation" Conservatism as could be imagined, adopts policies (e.g. price controls on certain products) that it formerly denounced (accurately) as "Marxist" and seeks constantly to increase Britain's already unacceptable controls on freedom of speech. We have a "Labour" Opposition that despises those who labour and rewards the idle to such an extent as to distort the market and draw in new workers from poor countries to depress the wages of its traditional voters. And we have a Liberal Democrat party whose name is two lies.

I have to call myself by the ugly name "libertarian" because in America the word "liberal" has been usurped by the most illiberal political forces; people who never stop seeking to bring more of GDP under the control of government and to micromanage conduct and speech. They call themselves the "Democratic Party", while undermining the equality before the law that is the essence of a liberal democracy; setting one identity group against another in order to create tensions that will justify a bigger government and more parasitical "jobs" for them. Then there is a "Republican Party" that increases the national debt just as much when it is in office. Both are for bigger government and more parasites, but at least the Democrats are honest about it.

On the Facebook feed linked to this blog, Andrew Allison of The Freedom Association asked yesterday

We have an anti-libertarian, nanny state, anti-free market government. Can anyone tell me why I should remain a member of the Conservative Party?

A fair question one might think. After all, where is someone who wants smaller government and less tax to place his or her "X" on the ballot at a British General Election? I am reduced to asking myself which candidate proposes to do less damage to my country, holding my nose and voting accordingly. And yet the first response to his question (in a group of Facebook users that must be one of the least authoritarian on the platform) was from someone called Rob Champion who said (my emphases);

This is why all the talk about setting-up a new centre party is so much nonsense. There is no gap in the centre ground - thats the Tory party. There is, however, a gap on the right as your post proves.

"On the right?" Is what Andrew wants (less government interference and freer markets) "right-wing?" Really?! What then, does "right-wing" mean any more?

The classically liberal view on which our civilisation was built consists of various elements. First and most important is the Rule of Law. "Be you never so high, the law is above you". The laws apply equally to everyone, including those who currently get to make new laws. New laws can only be made (and later enforced) in predictable, consistent and public ways, with everyone having the right to have their say beforehand. Second comes equality before the law. Third comes political equality i.e. "One person one vote". Within this framework, no-one can lose their liberty or property rights except as explicitly provided for by law and subject to due process. The basic unit of Western society is the individual and both law and government should therefore be blind to ethnic, class or other interest groups. The state's employees and the political bosses are "public servants" and should conduct themselves accordingly, being both respectful and even-handed in dealing with their masters - the public. Lobbying happens, but should be viewed with suspicion as democracy is undermined when the electorate believes there is conspiracy between interest groups and government agencies.

There's a lot of talk of "equality" in there, but none of it economic because in a free society economic outcomes are not for the government to determine. If the 20th Century taught us anything (and it was the most viciously educational century in history) it was that, given the variation in skills, effort, daring and, yes, luck between real life humans, any attempt to enforce economic equality will lead to violence and poverty for everyone outside the political ruling class.

In such a society I suggest the spectrum of opinion from Left to Right should be correctly understood as follows;

  • Far Left: Maximum state power over all matters, political and economic. All units of production in state ownership or control. No free speech.
  • Left: Private ownership of economic units permitted, but subject to heavy regulation to promote more equal outcomes. Free speech.
  • Centre-Left: As Left, but with lighter regulation. Free speech.
  • Centre-Right: As Right but with more regulation. Free speech.
  • Right: A presumption in favour of private ownership of economic units. Free speech.
  • Far-Right: Maximum state power over all matters, political and economic. All units of production in state ownership or control. No free speech.

This political rainbow, like an actual one, looks like an arc with two ends but is in fact a circle. If you ignore the hatreds that motivate them (class hatred and envy on the Far Left / Race hatred and envy on the Far Right) the extremes are actually identical. As the Labour Party is currently demonstrating, those hatreds sometimes bleed into each other. A small government classical liberal like me really doesn't fit anywhere on that circle. I regard myself as sitting in the middle, clinging to the values that made the West and crying "A pox on all their houses". So our Danish comedienne friend, while I am sure she is no more a Nazi than I am, is far closer to one than I will ever be.

The identity politics merchants; the race-baiters and inciters to gender-hatred of the Left constantly tell us that "words matter". They undermine free speech by claiming words – contrary to the wisdom of our elders – can hurt us. Yet they constantly seek to bend the meanings of words like "liberal", "right-wing" and now "Nazi" until they mean little and offer no useful ways to discuss political and economic issues. If you object to members of certain ethnic groups being privileged in law (i.e. you defend the classic principle of equality before the law) they call you a "white supremacist". It is a meaningless term of abuse.

While I don't believe an insult can do real harm to a healthy, balanced individual and so don't really think individual words matter that much, language matters a lot. If the Left continues on its path towards Newspeak – making it impossible to discuss opposition to their ideas by poisoning the well of language itself – then we will all meet a tragic political end.

A small experience of violent orthodoxy in Britain

Your humble blogger is on a diet, a health kick, a change of lifestyle – call it what you will. Always a big chap, I have carried excess weight since my mid-thirties. The late Mrs P. used to nag me about it, with kindly intent, but I was never very concerned. Of athletic build (though with no athletic inclinations) I could carry it and it didn't prevent me from doing anything I wanted. In the six years and more since she died, however, it has become a problem. My health is still sound, but it became difficult to carry my burgeoning weight around and I realised I was on a downward spiral to serious health problems as it became more difficult to exercise. 

For two weeks in January I went to a health spa in Turkey with a similarly-afflicted friend (the Quarterback or "Q", as those who followed my Great American Road Trip tour may remember him). There I was given an eye-opening analysis of my physical condition. I was over 174 kg, including 101 kg of muscle built solely by carrying the rest about. My blood sugar was terrifyingly high and if I didn't have Type 2 diabetes (as it later proved I didn't) it would be a miracle. My heart was working so hard to keep the blood circulating around my bulk that my resting heart rate was that of a runner during a race. For all its effort my circulation was poor and my legs and ankles were swollen. I needed to lose weight equivalent to that of an entire sturdy midfielder playing for the football club I follow.

The nutritionist in charge of the spa and the doctors supervising the regime there treated me like an unexploded bomb and forbade me to use the gym. As retired lawyers, it was clear to Q and me that they were concerned about liability issues if I popped my clogs on their premises. It was sobering stuff but I took the view that essentially this was a scientific problem and that it could be fixed by controlling calorific inputs and outputs. Advised by the spa staff I swam every day. Advised by Q, now renamed "Coach" or "Yoda" for his role in all this, I also decided to play games with my own psychology.

I made a commitment to my friends on my personal Facebook page to lose 40 kg by June 30th of this year and to lose a further 28 kg (taking me to my ideal weight) by June 30th of next year. Informed by some lectures I attended on the psychology of personal change, I posted a picture of Colin Firth standing outside the Savile Row shop that features in the Kingsman movies wearing a classic English gentleman's suit. I promised I will post a picture of me wearing the same suit outside the same shop on June 30, 2019 – and cutting the same bella figura. He's a little shorter and a couple of years younger than me, but of a similar build so I think it's a realistic objective. I also showed this picture to a personal trainer at my health club near my home in West London. She laughed and said Mr Firth is a member and will be amused to hear about that. I rather hope our paths cross at the club so I can persuade him to stand by me in the 2019 picture.

I lost 5 kg on the regime at the spa, and had lost more than 10 kg by the time I returned to London towards the end of January. I have been exercising regularly and following my Turkish guru's advice on nutrition and have now lost 27.5 kg. I am well on track to my first 40 kg target. On the advice of supportive friends and family, I also joined my local Weight Watchers group. The app for tracking consumption is useful and the meetings put me under more useful psychological pressure. I attend every Wednesday morning and publish my stats on my Facebook feed. My fellow Weight Watchers are all female and embarrassingly supportive. I respond poorly to that "yay! well done!" stuff and am more incentivised by avoiding the relentless mockery I can expect from my male friends if I falter, but it's pleasant enough.

I have found the meetings a bit irritating at times however. My scientific, practical approach sits poorly with the emotional way the ladies there look at the problem. When one said she'd put on weight because her husband had upset her and so she'd eaten a cake, I suggested a healthier approach would have been to throw it at him. There was a collective intake of breath and then a couple of ladies laughed and the moment passed. This week, however, the WW group leader was inviting us all to consider how our emotions affected our weight and the resulting twenty minutes of psychobabble became difficult to bear. I was biting my tongue throughout but when the leader directly asked me what I thought, I offered a couple of observations to the effect that the science still works, however you feel about it, so why even worry about emotions?

This stimulated an interesting response. An angry old woman ('the AOW") shouted that they had listened to me (yes for less than a minute after I had listened to emotional blather for twenty!) and that I should now shut up. I duly did so, even as she testily told me that I was lucky not to experience the same emotions as normal people and that my success in losing weight was therefore lucky too. The leader came up to me afterwards to ask me if I was OK, which was kind but rather proved that she too had missed my point. This was really not an issue to me. My approach works for me and I don't give a damn whether the AOW's does or not (apparently not) or how she "feels" about that. But it was a very revealing exchange.

Margaret Thatcher once said;

Do you know that one of the great problems of our age is that we are governed by people who care more about feelings than they do about thoughts and ideas?

One often hears people make similar complaints about the so-called Millennials – the "snowflakes" who fret so much about hurt feelings that they deny others' right to different opinions. Lady Thatcher was not talking about Millennials though, was she? And the AOW was firmly in the same "baby boomer" generation as me.  Nor are the television and radio interviewers who ask wounded victims of terrorist atrocities (or footballers who have lost matches) how they "feel" about it necessarily young. Nor, for the most part are the "outraged" columnists in quite serious journals who propose changes to legislation based on hurt feelings. While you or I believe that one is no more dead or injured if the victim of a "hate crime", many people of all ages (including the allegedly Conservative Prime Minister, God help us) believe that the irrational emotions of one's assailant make a crime somehow "worse". 

Lady Thatcher's observation encapsulates the main change in public discourse that I noticed when I returned to these islands in 2011, after nearly twenty years away. The English pride in rationality and the traditional "stiff upper lip" approach to emotion has vanished to the extent that I experience living here now as akin to being on some dreadful afternoon TV show. All media presenters are more or less Jeremy Kyle or, at best, Ellen Degeneres. Whereas as a young law student I was trained that "hard cases make bad law" and that legislation should be made in a detached spirit, not driven by the passions of those close to the problem, I now hear every day the ludicrous assertion that only victims can truly hope to understand issues and that it's ridiculous to believe that a calm, rational analysis by a detached person, "privileged" by not being in a given group of victims could lead to the right outcome.

I don't care that Mrs AOW has a different point of view to me. I actually found her emotional incontinence amusing and only mention her to illustrate my point. She's entitled to be as wrong as she likes and it's only her problem if her emotional response to a practical question has made her as unhappy as she is angry. But her determination that her emotions trump rationality and that her anger somehow validates her views tells a story about our country that, in the longer term, has to be worrying. 

A book Jeremy Corbyn should read

Story of a Secret State: My Report to the World (Penguin Modern Classics): Jan Karski: 9780141196671: Books.

I have just finished reading this book; a gift from a Polish friend. It was first published in the United States in 1944 and I am ashamed that I had never heard of its author or his story before. Jan Karski is one of the great heroes of Western Civilisation. 
He was a young officer in the Polish Army so swiftly defeated by the German and Russian pincer movement at the beginning of World War II. Captured by the Red Army, he faked papers in order to be released to the (as he thought) more civilised Germans. He then found his way to Warsaw and into the Polish Underground - the "Secret State" of the title.
Gifted with language skills and a photographic memory, he became (after dangerous adventures) the Underground's courier to the Allies. It was he who delivered the first news of the Holocaust to the Allied Powers. His were eye-witness reports. To ensure he would be able to convince people of such monstrous behaviour on behalf of the nation widely regarded as the world's most civilised, the Underground smuggled him into the Warsaw Ghetto. By bribing an Estonian guard to lend him his uniform, they also smuggled him into Bełżec, the death camp – or rather simple killing field – where most of Poland's Jews met their end. I have visited that place myself and you can see my photographs of it here. At the stage Karski was there, the gas chamber had not yet been invented though it was later trialled there before being used to kill Jews from the rest of Europe in the more famous concentration camps whose names we all know.
As part of this exercise Karski also met with the Jewish Underground, specifically the Polish leaders of the Jewish Socialist Alliance (the Bund) and of the Zionist organisation. Both knew they would not survive. 1.8 million Polish Jews had already been killed and they told him the Germans would finish that job before turning to those from the rest of Europe.
Karski asked them what they wanted Jewish leaders in the West to do and they told him this;
Tell them to go to all the important English and American offices and agencies. Tell them not to leave until they have obtained guarantees that a way has been decided upon to save the Jews. Let them accept no food or drink, let them die a slow death as the world is looking on. Let them die. This may shake the conscience of the world.
In between delivering his intelligence reports to the Allies and his messages to the Polish government in exile in London, Karski delivered that message. He met Szmul Zygelbojm of the Bund at Stratton House in London's West End; the headquarters of the Polish Minister of the Interior. Zygelbojm responded, horrified;
It is impossible, utterly impossible. You know what would happen. They would simply bring in two policemen and have me dragged away to an institution. Do you think they will let me die a slow, lingering death? Never ... they would never let me.
Nonetheless, he tried. Again I am now ashamed I didn't know his name before. Karski wrote; 
On May 13, 1943, came the epilogue to our meeting. I will remember that day till I die. I was sitting in my room in Dolphin Square during a brief respite, resting, when the telephone rang. I deliberately let it ring three or four times and then I picked up the receiver reluctantly. It was an employee of Stratton House. 
"Mr Karski, I was told to inform you that Szmul Zygelbojm, a member of the Polish National Council and representative of the Bund in London, committed suicide yesterday. He left some notes, saying that he did all he could to help the Jews in Poland, but failed, that all his brothers will perish, and that he is joining them. He turned on the gas in his apartment."
I hung up.
At first I felt nothing at all, then a wave of mingled, shock, grief and guilt. I felt as though I had personally handed Zygelbojm his death warrant.

Having met with the Polish Prime Minister and General Sikorski, with Sir Anthony Eden and with the one time Deputy Leader of Jeremy Corbyn's party, Arthur Greenwood (among many others) Karski was ordered to Washington DC, where he met President Roosevelt. He stayed on in America and went on to have a distinguished career as a professor at Georgetown University. He was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama in 2012.

I commend his book to you. I put off reading it for some time because of its dark content. That decision meant I was finishing it against the background of the Labour Party's antisemitism scandal. It was particularly poignant and difficult to be reminded of those horrors while listening to Corbyn's mealy-mouthed denials of his obvious sympathies with those who would drive the descendants of Europe's surviving Jews into the sea. It made even more disgusting the statements of the demented, ignorant "Momentum" rabble comparing Israel to Nazi Germany as they court the votes of Britain's Muslims whose ancestors mostly sided with Hitler and whose home countries' schools and madrassas (and some of their Imams here) still teach hatred of Jews.

Poland has much to be proud of in relation to its conduct under German occupation. There was no Polish Quisling or Lord Haw Haw. The Underground ran a secret state in the face of extreme violence. In the end, though the Allies "won" they saved few Jews. They also delivered the brave Poles into the hands of one of only two historical leaders even worse than Adolf Hitler – leaders respected, incidentally, by many in Momentum.

Poles can be particularly proud of Jan Karski, a hero not just to them, but to all decent humans. If Jeremy Corbyn really wanted to solve the anti-semitism problem in his ranks, he might consider requiring every Momentum member to read this book. Somehow I doubt he will. 

Conversations: Featuring Dr. Jordan B. Peterson, Professor of Psychology, University of Toronto - John Anderson


Conversations: Featuring Dr. Jordan B. Peterson, Professor of Psychology, University of Toronto - John Anderson

I cannot commend to you enough this video interview with Professor Jordan Peterson. I have long regretted losing my heroes, either as they fall from grace or as I acquired the cynicism (or is it wisdom?) that comes to all but fools as they age. It has been a long time since I acquired a new one. 

What is wonderful about Professor Peterson is that he does not engage in the grumpy denunciation of “the young” that so many of our generation fall into. On the contrary, he has found that they are hungry, nay starving for, the very virtues many deny they value.

It is our generation that warped their understanding of the world. We coddled them because we had few children and they were overly precious to us. We indoctrinated them with shallow, virtuous-sounding ideas, rather than schooling them in the actual virtues of our civilisation. We parented them, ludicrously, as if we had answered all the great questions and there were none for them to answer nor challenges for them them to face.

In Civilisation’s great relay race, we failed to pass the baton and cannot now complain that they run without it  

I have done enough for you today by introducing you to the video. Nothing I can say will improve upon his wisdom so waste no further time with me but spend a fruitful hour or so with him!