I saw out 2014 on Sun News in Canada with my old pal (and new Glenn Beck substitute host) Brian Lilley. We discussed the year in jihadist slaughter, including our fair dominion's own contribution via "recent Muslim converts" Michael Zehaf-Bibeau (right) and Martin Couture-Rouleau. If the magazine still had any journalistic instincts, the surging demographic group of the "mentally ill" "recent Muslim convert" would have made a great choice for one of Time's collective Man of the Year awards. Click below to watch Brian and me in conversation:
~Yesterday I linked to Julie Burchill's review of The [Un]documented Mark Steyn. I liked the bit about my writing being "rompily gorgeous", but thought I ought to respond to her accusation that I "fawn over the British monarchy":
Just to be clear, fawning-wise, I like the non-British monarchy. That's to say, I think a mostly absentee monarch, such as we have in Canada and Oz, is one of the most civilized forms of government ever devised - if, that is, it was "devised" at all.
Apropos of which, Patrick Sullivan writes from Miami:
I was reminded by your remark of a passage in science fiction author Cordwainer Smith's novel Norstrilia that has always had a stubborn bloody-minded appeal to me ['Norstrilia' being the rendering of 'Old North Australia' 15,000 years from today]:
"Why are we called a Commonwealth, when all the other places are called worlds or planets?"
"Because you people are subjects of the Queen of England."
"Who is the Queen of England?"
"She was an Earth ruler in the Most Ancient Days, more than fifteen thousand years ago."
"Where is she now?"
"I said," the computer had said, "that it was fifteen thousand years ago."
"I know it," Rod had insisted, "but if there hasn't been any Queen of England for fifteen thousand years, how can we be her subjects?"
"I know the answer in human words," the reply had been from the friendly red machine, "but since it makes no sense to me, I shall have to quote it to you as people told it to me. 'She bloody well might turn up one of these days. Who knows? This is Old North Australia out here among the stars and we can dashed well wait for our own Queen. She might have been off on a trip when Old Earth went sour.'
Keep fighting the good fight!
Indeed. "She bloody well might turn up one of these days." Simone Weil, the Parisian author and sometime Jew/Marxist/anarchist came to Britain during the Second World War to work for the Free French. And, after being there a bit, she started to ponder why, alone among the European powers, it was England that had maintained "a centuries-old tradition of liberty guaranteed by the authorities". Mme Weil was struck by the fact that in the British system "power is vested in one who is all but powerless" - ie, the monarch. Endowing the sovereignty of the nation in an absentee monarch -- as Australia, Canada, Barbados, Belize, Tuvalu et al do -- is an even more exquisite variation on the Weil thesis: vesting power in its literal rather than merely political absence.
~On a further footnote to Julie Burchill's review, Kathy Shaidle suggests, au contraire, that I'm really quite butch.
~I'm glad to hear Patrick's enjoying my Goldfinger album. If you're minded to join him, it's available from the Steyn store either on CD or via digital download or as part of a limited-time double-bill with the new book Julie Burchill liked so much. Goldfinger is also on sale at iTunes, Amazon and CD Baby.