Saturday, January 20, 2018

White Muslin and the African Slave Trade

From Racked:
In 1783, portrait artist Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun painted Marie Antoinette in a simple cotton gown known as a robe de gaulle. The thin white fabric is airy and loose, cinched at the waist with a sheer golden sash. Full sleeves and a softly ruffled neckline add volume to the otherwise unstructured shape. She doesn’t wear any jewels or embellishments, just a wide-brimmed straw hat tied with a ribbon band, topped with a few relatively modest plumes.

The painting has a graceful and arcadian feel to it, at least to the modern eye. The scene is refreshingly natural when compared to the ornateness of the typical Rococo-era portrait. The gown gives off “an aesthetic of rustic simplicity,” writes Katy Werlin in Clothing and Fashion: American Fashion From Head to Toe. Despite its humble appearance, though, Marie Antoinette’s portrait in the plain cotton dress had an impact that reverberated through the world in ways no one could have foreseen. It flipped the textile industry on its head, lighting the fuse laid out by a fast-changing world of exploration, Enlightenment, and rebellion. It caused cotton, and the institution of slavery it stood on, to explode. (Read more.)

Friday, January 19, 2018

The Imprisonment of Mary Stuart

From Smithsonian:
This frosty missive belongs to a trove of 43 letters that was recently donated to the American Trust for the British Library. The documents in this remarkable collection, which include four letters signed by Elizabeth I and others written by high-ranking officials like Sir Francis Walsingham, all relate to Mary’s imprisonment in England, where she was held for 19 years before her execution.

Mary fled to England in 1568, after an uprising forced her to abdicate the Scottish throne in favor of her infant son. She hoped that her cousin, Elizabeth, would offer refuge, but Mary’s arrival unnerved the English queen. Mary was Catholic; Elizabeth was a Protestant. Concerned that Mary would become the focus of plots to depose her and install a Catholic monarch, Elizabeth ordered her cousin to be placed under the strict supervision of English noblemen.

For most of her long confinement, Mary was kept at a manor in Derbyshire, in the custody of the Earl of Shrewsbury. But in 1584, she was moved to a dreary castle further inland, and transferred to the charge of the statesman Ralph Sadler. The British Library’s newest collection of letters span the period in which Mary was in Sadler’s care, from the summer of 1584 to the spring of 1585. It was a tumultuous time for both the Scottish queen and Europe at large. Religious wars were raging in France, the Protestant William of Orange had been assassinated by a “fanatical Catholic,” and a plot against Elizabeth’s life had recently been foiled. With the possibility of insurrection and assassination lurking constantly in the shadows, Elizabeth and her supporters became increasingly nervous about Mary. (Read more.)

A President Who Fights

From Town Hall:
General George Patton was a vulgar-talking, son-of-a-bitch.  In peacetime, this might have seen him stripped of rank.  But, had Franklin Roosevelt applied the normal rules of decorum, then Hitler and the Socialists would barely be five decades into their thousand-year Reich.

Trump is fighting.  And what’s particularly delicious is that, like Patton standing over the battlefield as his tanks obliterated Rommel’s, he’s shouting, “You magnificent bastards, I read your book!”  That is just the icing on the cake, but it’s wonderful to see that not only is Trump fighting, he’s defeating the Left using their own tactics.

That book is Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals – a book so essential to the Liberals’ war against America that it is and was the playbook for the entire Obama administration and the subject of Hillary Clinton’s senior thesis.   It is a book of such pure evil, that, just as the rest of us would dedicate our book to those we most love or those to whom we are most indebted, Alinsky dedicated his book to Lucifer. Trump’s tweets may seem rash and unconsidered but, in reality, he is doing exactly what Alinsky suggested his followers do.

First, instead of going after “the fake media” – and they are so fake that they have literally gotten every single significant story of the past 60 years not just wrong, but diametrically opposed to the truth, from the Tet Offensive to Benghazi, to what really happened on the streets of Ferguson, Missouri – Trump isolated CNN.  He made it personal.  Then, just as Alinsky suggests, he employs ridicule which Alinsky described as “the most powerful weapon of all. (Read more.)

The Muslim Slave Trade

From Dr. Taylor Marshall:
A few days ago I wrote about how Pope Zachary banned the selling of slaves in Rome. The slave trade in Italy was focused on the selling of Europeans to Muslims. People often neglect the fact that this slave trade was sexually and racially motivated. What I am about to write is politically incorrect, but the historical facts bear witness to it: Muslim men wanted to purchase fair skinned, blonde or redheaded European girls as sex slaves. It didn’t start with the film Taken. (Read more.)

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Lauren Rossi's Gowns

 From the Daily Mail:
Just outside Central Park, on New York City's Upper East Side, Lauren Rossi is waiting for an UberPOOL, looking as if she had just stepped out of the 18th century – with a twist. The elegant, deep blue gown she is wearing – dyed in an ombre, with gold leaf around the wide hooped skirt and overdress and intricate embroidered beading on the bodice – is completely handmade by Lauren herself, inspired by the Rococo style of the 18th century. She does have some 'modern' accents, as well, including gold makeup flecks she applied above her cheekbones and her necklace and earrings, which are mourning jewelry dated from 1913.

Over her shoulders, she is wearing a 1960s fur collar, and on her left forearm she is wearing a fur muff from about the 1950s – which is her guess because of the metal zipper inside – while she holds her iPhone in her right, checking on when her UberPOOL is supposed to arrive. 'I'm convinced in my Uber rating it says "dresses weird",' Lauren says. As she talks, the feathers pinned to her done-up hair move with her.

She might not look like it, but Lauren works a corporate job in New York City. She is a brand manager and does product development for the mass market apparel industry, including yoga pants and 'casual clothes', but in her spare time – practically all of her spare time – she makes intricately designed gowns inspired by 18th century fashion by hand.
'I just feel complete when I dress like this,' she tells 'I feel like it's a way of expressing myself, it's a way of embracing a femininity that I like and so, it just feels right.' (Read more.)

The Poverty Capital of America

California. From the Los Angeles Times:
Guess which state has the highest poverty rate in the country? Not Mississippi, New Mexico, or West Virginia, but California, where nearly one out of five residents is poor. That’s according to the Census Bureau’s Supplemental Poverty Measure, which factors in the cost of housing, food, utilities and clothing, and which includes noncash government assistance as a form of income.Given robust job growth and the prosperity generated by several industries, it’s worth asking why California has fallen behind, especially when the state’s per-capita GDP increased approximately twice as much as the U.S. average over the five years ending in 2016 (12.5%, compared with 6.27%).

 It’s not as though California policymakers have neglected to wage war on poverty. Sacramento and local governments have spent massive amounts in the cause. Several state and municipal benefit programs overlap with one another; in some cases, individuals with incomes 200% above the poverty line receive benefits. California state and local governments spent nearly $958 billion from 1992 through 2015 on public welfare programs, including cash-assistance payments, vendor payments and “other public welfare,” according to the Census Bureau. California, with 12% of the American population, is home today to about one in three of the nation’s welfare recipients. (Read more.)

The Axis Diplomats

From The Washington Post:
It’s one of the most striking images of Washington from just after the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor: Smoke rising from the garden of the Japanese Embassy on Massachusetts Avenue NW as diplomats burned box after box of secret documents. But have you ever wondered what happened next?
Harvey Solomon did — and the Takoma Park, Md., writer is hoping there are still some people around who recall one of the oddest episodes of the World War II home front: more than 1,000 employees from Axis embassies — diplomats, their families, staff and servants — were sent from Washington to live in luxury hotels.

“The FBI and the State Department wanted them out of the embassies,” Solomon said. “They might still be communicating via radio, and they had diplomatic pouches. All that had to end.”

The solution was to move them to the countryside. The first ones to go were the Germans, headed by acting Ambassador Hans Thomsen and his glamorous wife, Bebe. On Dec. 19, 1941, they were taken by special train from Union Station to White Sulphur Springs, W.Va. They would be cooling their heels at the Greenbrier resort. (Read more.)

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Branching Out

From the Trianon Health and Beauty Blog:
Trianon Bouquet Beauty Products are now available internationally, not just in America. To estimate the cost of shipping, just click under the price where it says "shipping to" and Etsy will figure it out. Meanwhile, we have been receiving positive feedback from customers about how the creams are helping them to survive the frigid temperatures. One young lady with dry rough cracked hands says the the Midnight Bouquet Night Cream is the only thing that really helps her skin to heal. The cream can also be used on dry elbows and feet, and as a hair masque on stressed hair. (Read more.)

An Existential Threat

From Life Site:
None of this will be news to most of you, but the impact of radical reinvention of our social structures is beginning to impact Christian communities in ways that are striking even closer to home. There is the fact that public schools across Canada (and many places in the United States) are beginning to implement sex education that runs directly contrary to the beliefs of many traditionalist communities—and governments are beginning to eye Christian and private schools as unwelcome havens of dissenting thought and education. And worse: Christian parents and foster parents are increasingly finding themselves “disqualified” from adopting children or taking children into their homes because of their views.

I’ve spoken to many prospective parents and foster parents over the last several years who were either overtly rejected as a result of their views on sexuality, or otherwise found that they were suddenly and abruptly rejected when their views were made known. Often, direct questions are put to Christian parents to find out if they still hold to Christian principles, with the obvious insinuation that answers not fitting with the current progressive ideology will render them unfit to care for children.
Considering the massive shortage of willing foster parents across Canada, this is a rather shocking and blunt move on the part of those in charge of the process: Essentially, Christian parents are being told that their views render them so dangerous that it is better that children desperate for a loving home are still shuffled from place to place rather than come into contact with views that were nearly universal only short decades ago. (Read more.)

Robert Hugh Benson and His Father

From Aleteia:
It’s said that Robert Hugh Benson’s conversion to Roman Catholicism was an act of rebellion against his father, Edward White Benson, Archbishop of Canterbury from 1883 until his death in 1896. Whether it was or wasn’t, the younger Benson’s spiritual autobiography at least offers grounds for seeing his conversion in that light.

But if so, what difference does it make? God can use inclinations and fears we may prefer not to recognize in ourselves as portals for grace to enter our lives. If latent conflict with a formidable father played a part in this son’s decision to become a Catholic, it doesn’t follow that the conversion was any less sincere.

Robert Hugh Benson (1871-1914) was a prolific author of fiction, apologetics and devotional works, best remembered for the apocalyptic novel Lord of the World, which Pope Francis calls one of his favorite books. His spiritual autobiography, Confessions of a Convert, first published in 1912 and republished by Ave Maria Press, ranks among his best. It’s no exaggeration to call it a minor classic. (Read more.)

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Several Engravings of Marie-Antoinette

 From Catawiki. By different artists, undated.


"Humanae Vitae" Revisited

From The Catholic World Report:
The fact is simply this: the dominant culture in the West is obsessed with sex—that is, sexual attractions and acts that have little or nothing to do with authentic love, marriage, procreation, the common good, and eternal life. And it has been for decades, during which time the Church has often been forced into a defensive stance, one that is sometimes interpreted as simply saying, “No, no, no!” (For a decidedly non-Catholic but frank history of the Sixties, the Sexual Revolution, and the culture wars, see Andrew Hartman’s 2015 book A War for the Soul of America: A History of the Culture Wars, from University of Chicago Press.) In fairness, there has been much to say “No!” to: the contraceptive mentality, the scourge of abortion, the steady drop in both marriages and births, the rise and acceptance of divorce, the mainstreaming of homosexuality, and, more recently, the wholesale embrace of gender ideology. And so this controversial comment, made by Pope Francis in 2013, makes some sense, at least initially and superficially:
We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible. I have not spoken much about these things, and I was reprimanded for that. But when we speak about these issues, we have to talk about them in a context. The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time.
(Read more.)

Pope St. Pius X on the Indefectibility of the Church

From Unveiling the Apocalypse:
The above encyclical of Pope St. Pius X cites an allegory of Pope St. Gregory the Great comparing the Church to the Barque of St. Peter in the midst of a great tempest. This was a deliberate allusion to the accounts of Christ's calming of the storm in the Gospels. Alongside the symbolism of the Battle of Lepanto, this very same theme predominates St. John Bosco's famous prophetic Dream of the Two Pillars. A prophecy which seems to be of especial significance this year, considering the fact that we have a very rare occurrence of a "blue and blood moon" on 31st January this year - which is the feast day of St. John Bosco himself. This is the first occurrence of a "blue and blood moon" in over 150 years, and will also appear during yet another "super-moon" phase (the last of three consecutive such appearances), when the moon is at its closest point to earth.
The last time a "blue and blood moon" lit up the night skies was on 31st March, 1866, while St. John Bosco was still overseeing the construction of the Basilica of Our Lady of Help of Christians in Turin, which wasn't completed until 1868. During its construction, St. John Bosco insisted on incorporating several prophetic elements into the architecture of the Basilica itself, based on the various prophetic dreams and visions he had experienced over the years.  The most notable of aspect of these curious additions to the architecture of the Basilica was an allusion to a prophetic date pointing to some time in the 20th century as the moment of another great Marian victory...(Read more.)

Monday, January 15, 2018

The Tragic Empress

A biography of Elizabeth, Empress of Austria, from History:
After a nervous collapse in 1862, Sisi spent as much time as she could away from the “prison fortress” of Vienna’s Hofburg palace (today her life is chronicled in the Sisi Museum there), frequently traveling to Greece, England, Ireland, Switzerland and Hungary. “I want always to be on the move,” she wrote, according to Hamann. “Every ship I see sailing away fills me with the greatest desire to be on it.”

Early in her reign, Sisi developed a deep interest in Hungary, then a rebellious part of her husband’s empire. She believed the Hungarian people deserved greater freedoms and respect, and collaborated with her close friend, the dashing Hungarian statesman Gyula Andrássy, to advance the Hungarian cause. She further alienated the Viennese aristocracy by filling her personal staff with Hungarian nationals.

In 1867, Hungary became an equal partner in the Austro-Hungarian empire. Franz Joseph was crowned King of Hungary and Sisi became queen. Hungarians were given new freedoms, and Franz Joseph was allowed back into the royal bed (the couple’s last child, Marie Valerie, was born in Budapest in 1868). For her part in the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867, Sisi was beloved by the Hungarian people.

Sisi reveled in her role as comforter of the empire’s “common” people, and often arrived at hospitals and charity wards unannounced, with only a lady-in-waiting in tow. Here she displayed surprisingly down-to-earth behavior for a royal: holding hands with the dying, and speaking to patients about their needs. “Truly like an angel of mercy she went from bed to bed,” lady-in-waiting Marie Festetics wrote of one such visit, as recorded in The Reluctant Empress. “I saw the tears trickling down the faces of the men.”

The empress was fascinated with new innovations in the treatment of the insane, and even toyed with the idea of opening her own psychiatric hospital. “Have you not noticed,” she once asked, “that in Shakespeare the madmen are the only sensible ones?” (Read more.)

How Abortion Targets African-Americans

From Life News:
Though PBS typically is biased toward abortion, the Rev. Clenard H. Childress said he was pleasantly surprised that the report was fair and balanced, the Jacksonville Free Press reports.
Childress, who was featured extensively in the report, is the assistant national director of LEARN, the largest African-American evangelical pro-life organization in the United States.

The program “Anti-abortion Crusaders: Inside the African-American Abortion Battle” aired in December. It centered around the key message of black pro-life advocates: “The most dangerous place for an African-American child is in the womb.” People can watch it online here.

The abortion rate is disproportionately high in the black American community. Even though black Americans make up 13 percent of the U.S. population, 35 percent of the babies killed in abortions are black, according to the Centers for Disease Control. The black genocide of abortion is disturbingly evident in New York City, where state data shows more black babies are aborted than are born.

Many believe that Planned Parenthood and other abortion facilities target black women for abortions. One analysis found that the abortion chain placed 79 percent of its abortion facilities within walking distance of minority neighborhoods.

“Planned Parenthood has taken it far beyond what the Klu Klux Klan thought they could possibly take it,” Childress said on the program. “How do you calm down over genocide?

“We need more African-Americans informed on the best kept secret in America; that is black genocide via the targeting of African Americans by the abortion industry,” he continued. (Read more.)

Christianity and the Migrant Crisis

From The Mad Monarchist:
Since the Bible does not say you must let any and all people into your country as they please, the people who favor this have to come up with something else and it usually comes down to only two or three verses that they repeatedly refer to. I cannot resist pointing out that there are more verses in the Bible that command people to obey kings and princes but I shall try to stay focused here. One of the most cited comes from very, very far back in the Bible, indeed almost to the book of Genesis which, by the way, pretty much all of these people believe to be completely fictions but I am speaking of Exodus 22:21 which says, “You shall not wrong a stranger (aka foreigner) or oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” That is pretty simple, calling to mind the trials the Jews suffered in Egypt, it says do not treat others the way that you were treated. Do not oppress foreigners. The Jews, of course, were enslaved by the Egyptians and I don’t think anyone is arguing for the enslavement of foreigners. They want to keep the strangers out which, if they do, will certainly make it impossible to oppress them. (Read more.)

Sunday, January 14, 2018

'Mariage de Louis XVI et Marie Antoinette'

An April 1770 Austrian medal minted by Roettiers, on the marriage of Marie-Antoinette the "sister of Emperor Joseph II" by proxy with the future Louis XVI in the Augustinerkirche of Vienna.

Here the young couple (who had not yet met) are shown at the altar of Vesta with goddesses representing their countries.


A Christian Strategy

From First Things:
Late-stage liberalism, which calls itself “progressive,” embodies a distinctive secularized soteriology and eschatology. Progressive liberalism has its own cruel sacraments—especially the shaming and, where possible, legal punishment of the intolerant or illiberal—and its own liturgy, the Festival of Reason, the ever-repeated overcoming of the darkness of reaction. Because the celebration of the festival essentially requires, as part of its liturgical script, a reactionary enemy to be overcome, liberalism ceaselessly and restlessly searches out new villains to play their assigned part. Thus the boundaries of progressive demands for conformity are structurally unstable, fluid, and ever shifting, not merely contingently so—there can be no lasting peace. Yesterday the frontier was divorce, contraception, and abortion; then it became same-sex marriage; today it is transgenderism; tomorrow it may be polygamy, consensual adult incest, or who knows what. The uncertainty is itself the point. From the liberal standpoint, the essential thing is that the new issue provokes opposition from the forces of reaction, who may then be conquered in a public and dramatic fashion by the political mobilization of liberal forces.

There are two ways of understanding this dynamic. One is that in the long run, liberalism undermines itself by transforming tolerance into increasingly radical intolerance of the “intolerant”—meaning those who hold illiberal views. On this view, militant progressivism is distinct from liberalism, indeed a betrayal of it. Such an account would make liberalism analogous to Marx’s claim about capitalism: Liberalism is inherently unstable and is structurally disposed to generate the very forces that destroy it. (Read more.)

A Living Sermon

From The Liturgy Guy:
For those in the Church already blessed with a personal, experiential, knowledge of the truth and beauty of tradition, the efficacy of Fr. Carney’s efforts is not surprising. Catholicism attracts. A priest in a cassock attracts. It should also come as no surprise that Fr. Carney’s continued formation and sanctification has come through an embracing of tradition.

Currently “on loan” to the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Fr. Carney serves as chaplain to the traditional order of nuns, the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles. If that name sounds familiar, it should. In recent years the sisters have released their beautiful recordings Advent at Ephesus and Lent at Ephesus; both have been bestsellers. (Read more.)

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Medieval Cats

Medieval people loved cats and cat pictures as much as we do! From the British Library:
The internet is considered by many to be a delivery-system for pictures of cats, and it should be no surprise, therefore, to learn the identity of today's bestiary animal.  As it is today, the enmity between the cat and the mouse was well-established in the medieval imagination.  Isidore of Seville even proposed an (incorrect) etymology for 'cat' (Latin catus) in the word captura, a form of a word meaning 'catch,' suggesting that this referred to the cat's catching of mice.  Or, he continues, 'capture' may refer to cats 'catching' large amounts of light with their eyes, to see in the dark.  Either way, cats were often shown in manuscript illumination with mice they have caught, and below, we can even see a Tom-and-Jerry style depiction of a mouse caught by a cat, caught in turn by a dog.  No word on the current disposition of the house that Jack built. (Read more.)

The 2018 Golden Globes

I never watch it, but the commentary about it on the Daily Wire gives some fascinating cultural insights. From Ben Shapiro:
During Oprah’s speech (she of the multiple pictures kissing Harvey Weinstein), we watched a cutaway to Meryl Streep (she of “God, Harvey Weinstein” fame and the standing ovation for Roman Polanski). If that doesn’t say all that needs to be said about Hollywood, nothing does. But we’re supposed to cheer Hollywood for its newfound wokeness. We’re supposed to pretend that their message of empowerment has nothing to do with being caught with their hands up skirts. We’re supposed to believe that these thoughtleaders who cheered Woody Allen just six years ago when he received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Golden Globes should continue to be our thoughtleaders on issues of protection against sexual abusers. (Read more.)
 From Matt Walsh:
 Personally, I agree that women should be celebrated. But I find it hard to celebrate these particular women. It seems that many of these particular women were more than willing to overlook the rampant sexual abuse happening all around them if it meant they could star in a Weinstein production or work with any of the other prominent abusers in their industry. Now they have rediscovered their feminist convictions only because those convictions are suddenly helpful to their careers. Their careers were their primary concern when they aided and abetted the sex abusers, and begged to be in films directed and financed by them, and their careers are their primary concern today. I see very few true "heroes" in the female film star camp. There are probably as many heroes in their ranks as there are among the men. That is to say, hardly any. (Read more.)
From Emily Zanotti:
 Argento, however, was the one who summed it up most effectively, claiming that the group was deliberately excluded because real victims just aren't glamorous enough for the red carpet — everything about "Time's Up" has to be heavily orchestrated and sanitized. “It would have been too much of a downer… an embarrassment,” Argento wrote. “Victims aren’t glamorous enough.”

The New York Post reached out to the actresses to determine whether they really weren't invited — it seems shocking that the women responsible for igniting the #MeToo movement, even if they weren't officially the founders, weren't invited. After all, among the accused entertainment industry bigwigs, Weinstein and Kevin Spacey (whose accusers also were not at the Golden Globes) are the both the most notorious and the movement's biggest scalps.

If they truly weren't invited — and it seems, by all accounts, that they weren't — it's yet another dent in the theory that Hollywood's A-list female stars are truly taking the issue of women's rights in their own industry seriously. The black gowns and the lapel pins are merely a facade, a way of expressing surface-level support while the issue of sexual harassment and sexual abuse is a hot topic, but not a serious commitment to any real change. Although they're happy to confront E! hosts about a pay dispute red carpet hosts are neither responsible for, nor have any power over, and spout long-debunked myths about the "wage gap" in softball interviews with entertainment reporters whose experience in economic policy is either skin deep or non-existent, standing next to a real victim is much harder. (Read more.)

Thought Police

We deplorables are tired of the thought police harassing us and our President. I thought Trump made the "sh*thole" comment on TV, but no. Now they are not even sure if he really even made such a remark. So much fuss over nothing! Here we are afflicted from all sides with porn and obscenity from Hollywood and the mainstream media, and people obsess over something Trump did not even say. And yet they foist upon us and our children every perversion, in schools, and on TV and even in the grocery store line. I have had to leave family reunions because the jokes were so crude. I am sick of the hypocrisy of the Left. From The New York Post:
Republican Sens. David Perdue and Tom Cotton say they “don’t recall” President Trump “specifically” smearing Haiti and African nations as “shitholes” at an Oval Office meeting they attended Thursday. “We do not recall the President saying these comments specifically but what he did call out was the imbalance in our current immigration system, which does not protect American workers and our national interest,” the two lawmakers said in a joint statement Friday. Trump reportedly said, “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” during a discussion on extending protections for immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and African countries. (Read more.)
Meanwhile, the Haitians still suffer. From The National Review:
In January 2015 a group of Haitians surrounded the New York offices of the Clinton Foundation. They chanted slogans, accusing Bill and Hillary Clinton of having robbed them of “billions of dollars.” Two months later, the Haitians were at it again, accusing the Clintons of duplicity, malfeasance, and theft. And in May 2015, they were back, this time outside New York’s Cipriani, where Bill Clinton received an award and collected a $500,000 check for his foundation. “Clinton, where’s the money?” the Haitian signs read. “In whose pockets?” Said Dhoud Andre of the Commission Against Dictatorship, “We are telling the world of the crimes that Bill and Hillary Clinton are responsible for in Haiti.” Haitians like Andre may sound a bit strident, but he and the protesters had good reason to be disgruntled. They had suffered a heavy blow from Mother Nature, and now it appeared that they were being battered again — this time by the Clintons. Their story goes back to 2010, when a massive 7.0 earthquake devastated the island, killing more than 200,000 people, leveling 100,000 homes, and leaving 1.5 million people destitute. 
The devastating effect of the earthquake on a very poor nation provoked worldwide concern and inspired an outpouring of aid money intended to rebuild Haiti. Countries around the world, as well as private and philanthropic groups such as the Red Cross and the Salvation Army, provided some $10.5 billion in aid, with $3.9 billion of it coming from the United States. Haitians such as Andre, however, noticed that very little of this aid money actually got to poor people in Haiti. Some projects championed by the Clintons, such as the building of industrial parks and posh hotels, cost a great deal of money and offered scarce benefits to the truly needy. Port-au-Prince was supposed to be rebuilt; it was never rebuilt. Projects aimed at creating jobs proved to be bitter disappointments. Haitian unemployment remained high, largely undented by the funds that were supposed to pour into the country. Famine and illness continued to devastate the island nation. (Read more.)
UPDATE: Dick Durbin has a history. From The Daily Wire:
 Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) accused President Donald Trump on Friday of referring to African countries as "s***holes" during a meeting that they both attended on Thursday. Durbin told reporters that what Trump said was "hate-filled, vile and racist," adding that "the most disheartening thing to me is my belief that that was the first time words that hateful had been spoken in the Oval Office of the White House." There's just one problem with Durbin's claims: He has a history of making up statements from private White House meetings. (Read more.)
 And an essay on crudeness and truth from the City-Journal:
 No one is really shocked, of course. This is simply a form of bullying. The Left has co-opted our good manners and our good will in order to silence our opposition to their bad policies. The idea is to make it seem impolite and immoral to mention the obvious.

The bullying is highly effective and very dangerous. In England, in the city of Rotherham, at least 1,400 non-Muslim girls, some as young as 11, were brutally raped by Muslim immigrants over a period of years in the 2000s. Police and other officials worked to keep the facts hidden because, according to multiple reports, they were afraid of being called racist. Think about that: police officers did not want to seem racist, so they stood by and let their city’s children be raped. The same thing goes on in other cities in England and throughout Europe. And in fact, some who have spoken out have had their careers curtailed by manufactured scandal. The message is clear: it’s just not nice to tell the truth. It’s just not done. Don’t do it.

Here in the states, the First Amendment has so far allowed old-fashioned American loudmouths to fight the system whenever they could find ways around our monolithic corporate media. But the Empire of Lies is quick to strike back. Google/YouTube now stands charged by multiple accusers of singling out conservative voices for censorship, “fact-checking,” and demonetization. Hidden-camera videos released by Project Veritas this week show Twitter employees conspiring to “shadow ban” conservatives on their system. On campus, intelligent conservative speakers of good will like Ben Shapiro, Charles Murray, and Cristina Hoff-Somers have faced violent protests meant to shut them up.

No person of importance on the right seeks to silence anyone on the left. The Left, on the other hand, is broadly committed to ostracizing, blacklisting, and even criminalizing right-wing speech. (Read more.)

Friday, January 12, 2018

Dauphine in Blue

A portrait of Marie-Antoinette de Lorraine d'Autriche by Joseph Hickel.


Antisemitism in France

From RT Question More:
Attacks against the Jewish community surged dramatically in 2015, when authorities officially registered 808 antisemitic attacks. The actual number of cases, however, can be much higher, as not all the victims filed official complaints. And while attacks against Jews decreased in 2016, according to assessments by Jewish Community Protection Service in France (SPCJ), 335 assaults were registered by French Jews that year. The drop is partly due to enhanced security measures introduced after the November 2015 Paris attacks which killed 130 people and led to the introduction of a two-year state of emergency. (Read more.)

Modern Saints of Ireland

From Remembering Fr. Willie Doyle SJ:
Today is the feast of St Charles of Mount Argus, a Dutch Passionist priest who spent about 30 years of his life in Dublin, dying here in 1893 at the age of 71. He greatly loved by the people of Dublin, primarily because of his humility and simplicity. He was not a great preacher, but he was extremely gentle in the confessional. Like many of those who excel in the virtue of humility, he received many graces from God, including many graces within his own spiritual life as well as the grace of healing. Each day hundreds of people would flock to the monastery at Mount Argus to receive his blessing and those with means from far away would often send carriages to collect him and bring him to someone who was sick or dying. There were many reports of wonderful healings and these reports continue to this day, now that his power of intercession is even greater in Heaven. For an eye witness account of the life and virtues of St Charles click here. (Read more.)

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Le salon de Madame Récamier à l'Abbaye-aux-Bois

Juliette Récamier on her famous sofa in her famous salon.To quote:
Juliette Récamier was a woman of letters and held a literary salon in an apartment of the Abbaye-aux-Bois rue de Sèvres in Paris, rented 7 April 1820. She moved into this religious establishment with her niece in October the same year. (Read more.)
There is more about Juliette HERE, as well as in my novel Madame Royale. Share

The Myth of Steve Bannon the Kingmaker

From The American Conservative:
Contrast that with Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord, a statesman and diplomat who worked under the regime of French King Louis XVI, survived the upheaval of the French Revolution, and then devoted himself to Napoleon I, Louis XVIII, Charles X, and Louis-Philippe. Talleyrand was known for his distinctive realist brand of cynical diplomacy. His ability to survive at the highest levels of successive French governments with competing agendas is cited as a model for advisors. He switched sides so many times that a contemporary cartoon shows him with six different faces, one for each regime he served.

“The first of all qualities in life is the art of showing only a part of oneself, of one’s thoughts, one’s feelings, one’s impressions,” Talleyrand wrote in his Memoirs, adding that “man was given the power of speech to conceal his thoughts.” Indeed, the ability to disguise one’s true self is a common theme embodied by history’s most successful and powerful advisors. T.E. Lawrence “of Arabia,” a clever chameleon and the quintessential kingmaker, reshaped the Middle East while being everything to everyone and nothing to himself. He wrote:
In my case, the effort for these years to live in the dress of Arabs, and to imitate their mental foundation, quitted me of my English self, and let me look at the West and its conventions with new eyes: they destroyed it all for me. At the same time I could not sincerely take on the Arab skin: it was an affectation only. Easily was a man made an infidel, but hardly might he be converted to another faith. I had dropped one form and not taken on the other, and had… a resultant feeling of intense loneliness in life, and a contempt, not for other men, but for all they do. Such detachment came at times to a man exhausted by prolonged physical effort and isolation. His body plodded on mechanically, while his reasonable mind left him, and from without looked down critically on him, wondering what that futile lumber did and why. Sometimes these selves would converse in the void; and then madness was very near, as I believe it would be near the man who could see things through the veils at once of two customs, two educations, two environments.
(Read more.)

Fr. Neuhaus was Right

From First Things:
Young people in North America and Western Europe are becoming skeptical of free speech, human rights, and free elections. Not only are they less likely to vote than young people in the past, they are less likely to attend protests, marches, and sit-ins. They are half as likely as older people to join humanitarian organizations or human rights campaigns. Robert Bellah spoke of a “civil religion” that sustains democratic faith. In terms of that faith, today’s youth are unchurched. They are increasingly alienated from democratic rituals, from democratic values, from democracy itself.

It is tempting to see this political disaffection as a symptom of end-of-history complacency. Young people who have not had to fight for the free world cannot be expected to see its advantages. But Neuhaus warned that something else is going on. Today, even those undisturbed by the fact that sixty million Americans have been aborted since 1973 should be able to see that all is not well. Real average hourly wages have not increased for fifty years. A national increase in deaths from suicide, alcohol, and drug abuse has caused overall life expectancy to decline for the first time since the AIDS epidemic.

We are told that these outcomes are simply the result of individual choice; to stop them would be an intolerable infringement on the rights of privacy and private property. This is the logic that has done so much to discredit liberal democracy. Economics is now treated as less a question of justice than a narrow and technical science. Politics is confined to policy questions rather than competing visions of right and wrong. Our regime hopes to maximize happiness by encouraging individual choice. It accepts abortion and overdose as the price for free love and free trade. It offers us every personal satisfaction, but nothing we can share. Even if our regime did maximize individual preference, that would not be enough. It is not good for man to be alone. Our good is necessarily common rather than merely personal and private.

For drawing attention to these facts, Neuhaus was shouted down. William F. Buckley defended him: “Loyalty has always got to be contingent. . . . We cannot love what is not lovely.” (Read more.)

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Miniature in Profile

A beautiful miniature of Marie-Antoinette from Le Boudoir. Share

The Wolff at the Door

From Victor Davis Hanson:
For all his gossip and intrigue, Wolff offers little insight into why such a supposedly disruptive and dysfunctional campaign team won the presidency. The victory, according to Wolff, was to the surprise of Trump and his advisors themselves! The logic of Wolff’s argument is that a pathetic Trump team that did not really wish to beat Clinton, Inc. If true, that paradox would say what exactly about Hillary’s fate? That wasting a mere year to win something you do not want is preferable to spending 17 years scheming in vain for your life’s ambition?

Wolff’s ogre purportedly sloppily eats Big Macs in bed, golfs more than Obama did, has no hair at all on the top of his head, and at 71 is supposedly functionally illiterate. OK, perhaps someone the last half-century read out loud to Trump the thousands of contracts he signed. But what we wish to know from Wolff is how did his trollish Trump figure out that half the country—the half with the more important Electoral College voice—was concerned about signature issues that either were unknown to or scorned by his far more experienced and better-funded rivals?

Why did not a well-read Marco Rubio or later Yale Law graduate Hillary Clinton focus on unfair trade and declining manufacturing, illegal immigration, unnecessary and optional overseas interventions, and the excesses of the deep administrative “swamp” state?

Who discovered these issues or knew how to develop them? Was it really the feisty Corey Lewandowski? The genius Paul Manafort? How, then, could Wolff’s idiot grasp that these concerns were the keys to flipping purple swing-states that had previously been written off as reliably Democratically patronized clinger/irredeemable/deplorable territory by far better informed and more tech-savvy campaign operatives?

Once Trump was in power, how does Wolff explain the near phenomenal economic turnaround in the latter part of 2017? Does he not see that the stupider you make Trump in his successful first year, by inference the even stupider you make the supposedly smarter actors in their many failed years?

Although psychological in part, the upswing is not accidental. So far economic robustness seems predicated on massive deregulation, the expectation and then the reality of comprehensive tax reform and reduction, wooing home capital and industry, expanded energy production, loud business boosterism, recalibrating foreign investment and trade, and declining illegal immigration. Did Trump do that between scarfing down cups of Häagen-Dazs? Did his team act on their own while Trump was too busy scraping the crumbs out of the bottoms of his barrels of KFC?

Why did not the supposedly far more sober and judicious Obama comprehend how to achieve 3 percent GDP growth. Could not Larry Summers or Timothy Geithner have ushered in record consumer and business confidence? Why did not black employment reach 2018 levels in 2013? Is not a man like Obama who eats arugula instead of daily swigging a dozen diet sodas far more studious and intellectually curious on all matters economic? Are we dunces really to believe merely building a high-rise in Manhattan takes more savvy than editing in near absentia the Harvard Law Review?

Abroad, why did not the supposedly worldly Hillary Clinton as secretary of state tweet her support for the Iranian revolutionaries in the streets in 2009—in the manner that a supposedly buffoonish and semi-literate and combed-over Donald Trump instinctively did in 2018? Presidencies in purported shambles, after all, are supposed to leave the country in greater shambles. (Read more.)

100 Years. 100 Million Lives.

From last November, in The Harvard Crimson:
My father’s escape journey eventually led him to the United States. He moved to the Midwest and married a Romanian woman who had left for America the minute the regime collapsed. Today, my parents are doctors in quiet, suburban Kansas. Both of their daughters go to Harvard. They are the lucky ones. Roughly 100 million people died at the hands of the ideology my parents escaped. They cannot tell their story. We owe it to them to recognize that this ideology is not a fad, and their deaths are not a joke.

Last month marked 100 years since the Bolshevik Revolution, though college culture would give you precisely the opposite impression. Depictions of communism on campus paint the ideology as revolutionary or idealistic, overlooking its authoritarian violence. Instead of deepening our understanding of the world, the college experience teaches us to reduce one of the most destructive ideologies in human history to a one-dimensional, sanitized narrative.

Walk around campus, and you’re likely to spot Ché Guevara on a few shirts and button pins. A sophomore jokes that he’s declared a secondary in “communist ideology and implementation.” The new Leftist Club on campus seeks “a modern perspective” on Marx and Lenin to “alleviate the stigma around the concept of Leftism.” An author laments in these pages that it’s too difficult to meet communists here. For many students, casually endorsing communism is a cool, edgy way to gripe about the world.

After spending four years on a campus saturated with Marxist memes and jokes about communist revolutions, my classmates will graduate with the impression that communism represents a light-hearted critique of the status quo, rather than an empirically violent philosophy that destroyed millions of lives.

Statistics show that young Americans are indeed oblivious to communism’s harrowing past. According to a YouGov poll, only half of millennials believe that communism was a problem, and about a third believe that President George W. Bush killed more people than Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, who killed 20 million. If you ask millennials how many people communism killed, 75 percent will undershoot.

Perhaps before joking about communist revolutions, we should remember that Stalin’s secret police tortured “traitors” in secret prisons by sticking needles under their fingernails or beating them until their bones were broken. Lenin seized food from the poor, causing a famine in the Soviet Union that induced desperate mothers to eat their own children and peasants to dig up corpses for food. In every country that communism was tried, it resulted in massacres, starvation, and terror.

Communism cannot be separated from oppression; in fact, it depends upon it. In the communist society, the collective is supreme. Personal autonomy is nonexistent. Human beings are simply cogs in a machine tasked with producing utopia; they have no value of their own. (Read more.)

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Holding Court

Here are pictures of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette holding court. They were almost always surrounded by crowds of people, even though both made an attempt to have hours of solitude and privacy. Above is a posthumous painting of the Queen receiving petitioners while walking in the gardens of Versailles.

Above is the ceremony of June, 13 1775 by Gabriel François Dean (1726-1806).  King Louis XVI receives the homage of the Knights of the Holy Spirit, as the great master of the order. The King's brothers stand behind him, talking to each other, as usual. The Queen and her ladies watch from a gallery opposite the King. Below is the Order of the Holy Spirit.

Above is an allegory in honor of Louis XVI by Gabriel Jacques De Saint-Aubin. The young Queen is staring adoringly at her husband. The mythological or Biblical figures which are typical in allegorical drawings show the expectations that the young monarchs were bringing forth an apocalyptic age. Share

Screen Time and Teens

From NPR:
A new report from the United Nations Children's Fund, or UNICEF, surveys the online experiences of children and youth around the world. They found that adolescents and young people are the most connected generation and that children under 18 represent 1 in 3 Internet users worldwide. Digital resources are expanding access to education and work, and in some places, young people are using them to become more civically engaged.

But there are serious harms — such as sexual abuse, child pornography and sex trafficking — that are exacerbated by the Internet, especially in the developing world. And in the developed world, there are emerging concerns about the ties between Internet use and mental health problems like anxiety and depression. The key, say the authors of the UNICEF report, is "taking a Goldilocks approach" — not too much, not too little — and "focusing more on what children are doing online and less on how long they are online." (Read more.)
From Mashable:
 The coauthors' analysis also suggests a link between increased social media and depression. In both cases, the effect on girls was noticeable, but it didn't really materialize for boys, who've also seen an uptick in the rate of suicide and depression.

"There’s definitely something going on in the mental health of teens today, and it started around 2011 and 2012," says Jean Twenge, the study's lead author and a San Diego State University psychology professor.

As the author of iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy—and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood—and What That Means for the Rest of Us, Twenge has made a career out of arguing that the something is the rise of screen time and social media. 

While her new study lends credence to that theory, other researchers say it sows unwarranted doubt and alarm for teens and their parents. Pete Etchells, a lecturer in biological psychology at Bath Spa University in the U.K., called for "more sense and less hype" in a Guardian column about the study. 
Amy Orben, a social media psychologist and college lecturer at The Queens College at the University of Oxford, wrote a Medium post criticizing Twenge's study for drawing "grand conclusions with widespread implications using such weak and inconsistent links." (Read more.)

French New Year’s Etiquette Visits in the Late 1800s

From Geri Walton:
The French loved etiquette and etiquette was applied to such things as courtship, marriage, and death. The French also had etiquette rules when it came to the New Year. It was observed with calls and visits that were made to relatives and certain officials. In fact, according to one twentieth-century etiquette expert, “Not to receive a New Year’s call, or, if distance prevents, a visiting card, is the indisputable, the recognized indication that sender and addresses are henceforth to be strangers.”[1] In general, visits occurred over the month of January. People called on their grandparents and superiors on New Year’s Eve. On New Year’s Day, they visited their parents and immediate family members. The first week of the New Year was devoted to visiting other family members, the second week to visiting intimate friends, and the remainder of the month was used to call on acquaintances. (Read more.)

Monday, January 8, 2018

Queen in Prison

Marie-Antoinette in the Conciergerie. Share

How the Sexual Revolution Became a Dogma

From Mary Eberstadt at First Things:
 To begin with a point to which many Christian thinkers would agree, the United States and other nations rooted in Judeo-Christianity have entered a time of paganization—what we might also call “re-paganization.” The gravitational pull of traditional religion seems to be diminishing, even as a-religious and anti-religious elements accumulate mass. This paganization is especially ascendant among the young, now famously more prone than any other group to checking “none of the above” when asked for their religious affiliation; according to the Pew Research Center and others, the combination of self-described atheists and self-defined “nones” is now the fastest-growing “religious” group.

Wider manifestations of this ongoing paganization have also become commonplaces: the proliferation of religious liberty court cases, legal and other attacks on Christian student groups at secular universities, demonization and caricature of religious believers, intimidation aimed at those who defend Judeo-Christian morality, and other instances of what Pope Francis himself has dubbed the “polite persecution” of believers in advanced societies. Paganization is also evident in the malignant conflation of Christianity with “hate speech,” a noxious form of ideological branding destined to unleash new forms of grief on believers in the time ahead.

So far, so familiar. And yet, we’ve not fully understood this new paganism after all. According to the dominant paradigm shared by most people, religious and secular alike, the world is now divided into two camps: people of faith and people of no faith. But this either-or template is mistaken. Paganization as we now know it is driven by a new historical phenomenon: the development of a rival faith—a rival, secularist faith which sees Christianity as a competitor to be vanquished, rather than as an alternative set of beliefs to be tolerated in an open society. How do we know this? We know it in part because today’s secularist faith behaves in ways that only a faith can. (Read more.)


From The Daily Wire:
The heads-up email was intended to give State (and Clinton) time to come up with some spin for stories that may have caused problems. Or, in another possible scenario, the heads up could give the State Department time to create a diversion for the same day, thus overriding a damaging story with other news its friends in the mainstream media would happily cover instead.

The players in the WikiLeaks email are interesting. Scott Shane is the national security reporter for the Times. And the recipient of his email, Philip Crowley, was at the time the United States Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs under Clinton’s State Department.

As 2017 comes to an end, it's clear the Clinton scandals won't go away anytime soon. On Friday, the Justice Department released thousands of Clinton emails. "Several emails with classified information from former Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin were among a tranche of documents released Friday that were found on Anthony Weiner's personal computer during an FBI probe," USA Today reported.(Read more.)

Sunday, January 7, 2018

“The Adoration of the Magi” by Gentile da Fabriano

From Aleteia:
The subject is that of the famous Three Kings. Bearing gifts they traversed through distant lands in order to honour and adore the newly born Christ Child. Their adventure begins in the background. Very inventively the artist characterizes their journey as a continuous narrative through the gilded Gothic arches.

The first scene decorating the first arch depicts the discovery of the bright star in the East. The brightness of the star illuminated their hearts as they set out for Jerusalem. This is illustrated in the second scene. However, there they encounter the villain. Herod, the paranoid and treacherous king, asked them to report back once they find the Messiah. From there the Magi lead their retinue to the small town of Bethlehem as displayed at the upper right corner.

The extraordinary star shepherded them to the stable. The stupefied scene they encountered is witnessed by the viewer in the foreground of the painting. As the haloed and resplendent Christ Child greets the kings, they take turns offering gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Portrayed as emissaries, each Magus is accompanied by an entourage of pages and courtiers on horses. So great is the crowd that the figures appear stacked one on top of the other as if poised on a slope. (Read more.)

Catholicism and the State

From The Catholic Herald:
In this hope that a stable equilibrium of accommodation between Catholicism and the liberal state can be preserved, if only by a benevolent proconsul, Douthat is hardly alone. Even Catholics who self-identify as “trad(itionalist)” often yearn for accommodation and co-existence between Catholicism and the liberal state. In a striking number of cases, as in Douthat’s, this takes the form of longing for some past era. (Whether the qualities attributed to that era are in fact accurate is tangential to my points here).

The historical benchmark varies. The Paris Statement, a recent declaration by philosophers (some of them Catholic) harks back to a postwar Europe of Christian liberal democracy, before the conflicts among Christianity, liberalism and democracy became painfully apparent. For Commentary’s Sohrab Ahmari, one possible benchmark era is the later 1980s and early 1990s. In those years St John Paul II (the “Apostle of Human Freedom”, as Ahmari calls him), Reagan and Thatcher bestrode the world stage, defeating Communism and ushering in an era of neoconservative (one might say neoliberal) governance, centring on “free” markets and the promotion of “freedom” globally. To his credit, Ahmari acknowledges that liberals face major questions which they may be unable to answer (and he forcefully rejects theological liberalism). But he nevertheless seems to hanker for a time when liberal democracy and Christianity were at peace. 

Others do not explicitly identify a preferred historical era, but nevertheless try to preserve some pre-existing truce between Christianity and liberalism. Rusty Reno, the editor of First Things, would like to distinguish “liberalism as creed”, on the one hand, from “liberalism as tradition” on the other, and adhere to the latter even while abjuring the former. Reno would like to keep certain liberal customs and institutions while avoiding all the disruption that occurs when liberalism imposes its ideological views on recalcitrant populations. (Read more.)

Foods That Make Your Skin Radiant and Glowing

From the Trianon Health and Beauty Blog:
So whether you need to treat acne, ward off premature aging, reduce the appearance wrinkles or fight back against another pesky skin condition, the right diet can be a valuable aid. That’s because researchers have found that fitting certain foods into your daily routine can help fight back against your complexion woes by turning off inflammatory genes and providing your body with the proper tools to strengthen and build healthy tissues. Eat these foods to nourish your skin and get that healthy glow! (Read more.)

Saturday, January 6, 2018

The Child God

From TFP:
Approach the crib of the Child God with me. Let us imagine the arrival of the Magi Kings at the manger, after having followed the Star of Bethlehem with their caravans and treasure-laden animals. These sovereigns—King Balthazar, King Melchior and King Gaspar—offer the Child Jesus gold, frankincense and myrrh, in adoration. Looking at the God Child, we pause and consider His infinite grandeur, His accessibility, as well as His infinite compassion. We then ask ourselves, which of these three Divine qualities draws us closer to Him. (Read more.)

Eugenics and the Left

From The Guardian:
We could respond to all this the way we react when reading of Churchill's dismissal of Gandhi as a "half-naked fakir" or indeed of his own attraction to eugenics, by saying it was all a long time ago, when different norms applied. That is a common response when today's left-liberals are confronted by the eugenicist record of their forebears, reacting as if it were all an accident of time, a slip-up by creatures of their era who should not be judged by today's standards. Except this was no accident. The Fabians, Sidney and Beatrice Webb and their ilk were not attracted to eugenics because they briefly forgot their leftwing principles. The harder truth is that they were drawn to eugenics for what were then good, leftwing reasons.

They believed in science and progress, and nothing was more cutting edge and modern than social Darwinism. Man now had the ability to intervene in his own evolution. Instead of natural selection and the law of the jungle, there would be planned selection. And what could be more socialist than planning, the Fabian faith that the gentlemen in Whitehall really did know best? If the state was going to plan the production of motor cars in the national interest, why should it not do the same for the production of babies? The aim was to do what was best for society, and society would clearly be better off if there were more of the strong to carry fewer of the weak.

What was missing was any value placed on individual freedom, even the most basic freedom of a human being to have a child. The middle class and privileged felt quite ready to remove that right from those they deemed unworthy of it.

Eugenics went into steep decline after 1945. Most recoiled from it once they saw where it led – to the gates of Auschwitz. The infatuation with an idea horribly close to nazism was steadily forgotten. But we need a reckoning with this shaming past. Such a reckoning would focus less on today's advances in selective embryology, and the ability to screen out genetic diseases, than on the kind of loose talk about the "underclass" that recently enabled the prime minister to speak of "neighbours from hell" and the poor as if the two groups were synonymous. (Read more.)