Last night we stayed with a dear friend Nigel Pollock outside Godalming. A lovely and relaxed time, much needed after one of our perennial encounters with dis-courteous drivers.
Something Fishy Going on Here…
I recall that a policeman friend of mine arrested a woman driver whom he saw swearing viciously at an inoffensive elderly man who had stopped briefly to allow a woman with a pram to cross the road: she had then given the driver the finger.
Back at the station the policeman deposited the woman in the cells and checked out her papers and the ownership of the car. Soon he released the very angry woman who asked him what the blankety blank he thought he was doing arresting her like that?
“Well madam,” said the cop, “I saw a fish sign in the rear window of your car and a banner saying “Jesus saves” and so when these signs contrasted with your behaviour I was convinced the car had been stolen. My apologies!”
A Day as a Lion
I have occasionally been asked what persuades Jane and I to continue walking for ZANE, and concerned friends wonder whether such an activity isn’t rather risky at our age? I suppose they think that at our stage of life, watching telly in carpet slippers would be a more appropriate way of spending time than staggering up and down the UK. 1,700 miles is a long way!
However, perhaps a single day as a lion is better than a thousand years as a sheep? So, on we plod.
Many people think our relatively risk-free and peaceful society is a normal state of affairs. However, we live in extraordinary and unprecedented times. Our strife-free life is a contributing factor to the fact that over 30 per cent of the population is so used to these marshmallow times that they couldn’t even be bothered to vote in the last election. With little sense of history, they are unaware that the essential freedoms we enjoy today – to vote and speak freely, the fact we are more or less an independent people (pity about the EU), religious tolerance, freely elected parliaments and fundamental democratic rights –have all been won in blood by our forefathers. It’s all too easy to just read the sports news and forget that 55 million people died in the Second World War – we take the benefits of peace for granted, and forget the terrible cost.
And while I am thinking dark thoughts, I couldn’t help pondering after we last arrived back from Zimbabwe – a country where people have no state benefits of any kind – what a risk-averse, cosseted and spoiled country the UK has become. In Zimbabwe they have nothing but God’s protection: in the UK we rely on the NHS.
Decline and Fall
The reality is that the seeds of decline lurk everywhere. Gibbon noted five characteristics that led to the fall of the Roman Empire: an obsession with sex and perversion; a celebration of affluence instead of wealth creation; meretricious rubbish posing as art; a desire for more and more people to live off the state; and last, a wide and growing divide between the rich and the poor. Recognise these symptoms anyone?
The banality of the last election frightened me – endless talk of spending money with no attention given to wealth creation. Then the left seeks to cut the armed services with the savings shovelled into either increased welfare in Scotland or our bloated NHS. Lenin would have called Sturgeon and her chums, and their wish to scrap Trident, “useful fools”.
And another thing. What irritates me witless is the lefties’ assumption that they are somehow “nicer” than those with differing views, and automatic occupants of the moral high ground. But the left has no monopoly on compassion. We all want to take money from the “haves” and help the poor. The question is how is the balance to be struck? The idea that the left is “kind” while the right unkind is drivel. Some of the most grotesque mass murderers and dictators had their roots on the left – think Stalin, Pol Pot and Hitler.
A Modern Monster
In A.N. Wilson’s excellent book on Hitler, it’s chilling to read that despite the fact he was a monster, he was also a “modernist” (and much liked by his staff). What is fascinating is that most of our lefty friends today would have wholeheartedly agreed with many of his beliefs. Of course, he took his racist views to wild extremes, but he is not alone in this; today we have growing anti-Semitism, and racism is so prevalent in our society that our leaders rightly deem it necessary to implement sterns laws to prevent racial abuse (laws, of course, do not do away with racism, they just mask its pernicious effects).
Of course, Hitler’s racism led him to the ultimate obscenity of mass murder. But he was in fact a boring, commonplace little man with a very “modern” outlook in other areas. He believed in crude Darwinism, along with nearly all the scientists and “sensible” sociologists, politicians and political commentators of our time. Hitler – rather like Blair, who abolished the office of Lord Chancellor – swept away what he regarded as outmoded political structures. He embraced science, not religion, as the answer to life’s mysteries, and he condoned euthanasia and abortion; Hitler regarded himself as forward-looking. Oh yes, and he hated hunting and was a non-smoking vegetarian. In fact, as far as I can see, Hitler’s views were the embodiment of those of the average modern lefty person.
Hitler and his gang started a world war that by its end had killed 52 million people. Without proper defences and with our naive belief that the wars of the wicked past can never return because we are now more “civilised” and “nicer” than before, how can we ensure that the new lefty versions of Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot and Saddam can be spotted before they end the world as we know it? Next time it will be nuclear.