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The fall of the Temple of Reason

Terrible news from Paris of the fire at Notre-Dame Cathedral. As I write, I understand that not all is lost of this masterpiece. The collapsed spire was a 19th Century addition, but the damage must be immense.

When I was last in Paris, over a decade ago, I recall looking at Notre-Dame and shuddering as I thought of it as ‘destroyed’ (not that I believe that there are ‘holy’ places), as, during the French Revolution, it was closed as a cathedral and was declared a Temple of Reason. When egalitarians appeal to reason, you know heads will roll.

There followed years of neglect, before, AIUI, in 1905, the French State (which had assumed ownership), effectively provided the cathedral to the Catholic Church as a permanent ‘tenant’. The cause of the fire may well be nothing more sinister than incompetence, perhaps we will never know. I would like to think that commercial aviation levels of caution would go into fire precautions in such a building, (perhaps they did) which, whatever your view of the use or purpose of it, is surely one of the great buildings on Earth. However, the neglect under State ownership has continued, and yesterday’s cathedral was a revived corpse of the pre-Revolutionary building.

It is pretty shameful that neither Hitler nor the Kaiser managed to do as much damage to Notre Dame as the fire. It had survived them, and rioting Hugenots. In WW2, it was relatively unscathed. Some lost mediaeval glass was, I understand, replaced by abstract crap in the post-War period, so the scoundrels were already circling.

Perhaps the fire is a Randian moment, wasn’t there a train crash in a tunnel for which ‘no one is responsible’? Is the burning down of a ‘temple of reason’ an allegory for France after its great economists are all-but forgotten?

Does it matter if, in rebuilding Notre-Dame, stone that is geologically ancient is replaced by other just as ancient stone, carved a few mere centuries later? Should, as with the Campanile in Venice, the order be: ‘Com’era, Dov’era.‘. ‘How it was, where it was.‘?

Or will something more ‘inclusive’ replace it or be grated on to it?

47 comments to The fall of the Temple of Reason

  • Shlomo Maistre

    Should, as with the Campanile in Venice, the order be: ‘Com’era, Dov’era.‘. ‘How it was, where it was.‘?

    Yes

    Or will something more ‘inclusive’ replace it or be grated on to it?

    Yes

    What will happen and what should happen don’t overlap too often these days.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Yes, Mr Ed. That’s very sad news indeed.

    And I certainly hope Shlomo’s prescription comes true, but not his prediction.

  • William O. B'Livion

    Dunno why everybody’s so atwitter about this.

    We’ve been burning down western civilization for *decades*.

  • William H. Stoddard

    I dread the prospect of reconstruction, as I doubt there is any chance of its being rebuilt in historically authentic style. It might be better to clear the site and leave it bare, with a marker to explain what once stood there.

  • bobby b

    Given the materials and construction methods, I’m amazed it didn’t burn down long ago. Every year it aged, it got drier. It was a giant chimney. When teaching people how to build campfires, you could do worse than to teach them to build a model of that building out of sticks. Which is what it was built out of, by the way.

    So maybe it’s better, there in the middle of Paris, to not rebuild it historically accurate, but to rather build it so it looks right but isn’t another huge bomb, and refer to it from then on as a marker of the old Notre Dame.

  • Penseivat

    I knew they shouldn’t have employed that hunchback to burn off waste wood during the renovation.

  • decnine

    The fire from one accidental outbreak spread an extremely long way.

  • pete

    Look on the bright side.

    With church congregations dwindling fast there is no need for so many churches these days.

  • Paul Marks

    In the English language the “separation of Church and State” means that the Church is independent of the state – but in France it has meant (since 1905) that the state owns the churches. This makes no sense – like the French Revolution of 1789 it is not reason, it is the VIOLATION of reason.

    The medieval wooden roof (“the forest”) is gone – but then building roofs from stone or brick is much harder than building them from wood.

    The cathedral in Florence, where the dome is actually brick (not partly wood – as the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral in London is) was not the design of medieval craftsman – it was the design of that astonishing genius Filippo Brunelleschi, who understood both the laws of mathematics (geometry) and how to apply them practically with specially shaped and positioned bricks.

    If one want to see REASON – then do not look to the French Revolution (that squalid mess of disgrace and human blood – created by failed lawyers and power mad collectivists), look to men such as Filippo Brunelleschi.

  • Rob

    I expect there were hundreds of regulations intended to ‘control’ everything, and most were routinely flouted, including the ones which actually made sense and were needed, because once you start ignoring some the culture around the work changes, from adherence by default to bypass by default.

  • Rudolph Hucker

    @bobby b
    Good observation – it was a tinderbox waiting for a spark. The construction methods resembled (on a very large scale) a garden incinerator filled with kindling.

    What’s the betting that within a short time there will be a string of articles with #symbolic or #allegorical hashtags?
    i.e.
    that a thing of beauty was destroyed by willful stupidity or incompetence (never mind malevolence or failed ISIS attacks), and it’s symbolic of the state of The State of France, or an allegory of things to come.

  • In communist defector literature I’ve read, I once encountered the story of a young Russian man who came across a neglected church on a country walk. Over the alter, Christ – about whom he knew nothing – hung on the cross. “That’s odd”, thought the Russian. “Why would they do that to a man and yet display him in the place of honour?” Eventually he decided, “They must have done that to him because they thought he was guilty – but then discovered he was innocent, so put up that carving to show they were sorry.” The idea spoke powerfully to that subject of Stalin.

    Sometimes buildings remember what people are made to forget.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    So what is the libertarian argument against privatizing Notre Dame? Have the government sell it off to the highest bidder to see what the free market can do with that prime real estate in the heart of Paris? Isn’t this what TRUE LIBERTARIANS would argue for? Perhaps the most efficient use of the land would be to turn it into a strip mall or a series of restaurants?

    This sounds distasteful, but this proposal is ONE THOUSAND TIMES more tasteful than the semi-open borders policy currently in place in many western countries. While turning Notre Dame into a private strip mall may be a bit repulsive, it is only symbolic of what Progressives and Libertarians have actually been doing and continue to do to the West with their immoral immigration policies.

  • Mr Ed

    a young Russian man who came across a neglected church on a country walk. Over the alter, Christ – about whom he knew nothing – hung on the cross.

    I understand that the Russian word for ‘Sunday’ is ‘Resurrection’, which made it rather hard for the Bolsheviks to eliminate the Christian religion entirely from the popular consciousness, and hard to see how he could be entirely unaware of Jesus, but he would have been through socialist education.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “So what is the libertarian argument against privatizing Notre Dame? Have the government sell it off to the highest bidder to see what the free market can do with that prime real estate in the heart of Paris?”

    The highest bidder, surely, would be all those people who want to keep it as a church, a piece of history, a thing of beauty, a tourist attraction, a cultural artifact, a demonstration of man’s greatest achievements, etc. Right?

    People talk about society investing in culture and art, but they always want to do it with other people’s money, never their own. We have a system for controlling the economic use to which land is put, which is ‘property’. Whoever own the land, decides how it is to be used. If the owner wants a church, they can have a church. If the owner wants a strip mall (presumably like a strip club but bigger, and with shops?), they can have a strip mall. And we allocate land to the use we collectively value the most by selling it to the highest bidder.

    Everyone who wants to keep it as a church, everyone who wants it rebuilt along traditional religious lines, go pool your money and buy it. (I expect the Catholic Church itself would be willing to organise a fundraiser.) Outbid the strip mall consortium. Then you can do what you want with it.

    But if you want to control what happens to it but don’t want to pay for the privilege yourself, then lobby the State and the politicans and their guns and their stolen money to do it for you.


    How’s that for a libertarian argument? 🙂

  • Revelation

    So #Macron pledged to rebuild #NotreDame immediately ‘in a way consistent with our modern diverse nation’.

    Then that tweet got promptly deleted.

    So, anyone fancy visiting the Notre Dame mosque in a few years?

  • The Sanity Inspector

    decnine
    April 16, 2019 at 8:07 am
    The fire from one accidental outbreak spread an extremely long way.

    The wooden frame was very dry and extensive. Also it was very high, which means it was getting a lot of oxygen from the updraft.

  • neonsnake

    So #Macron pledged to rebuild #NotreDame immediately ‘in a way consistent with our modern diverse nation’.

    Then that tweet got promptly deleted.

    I think so many people would wish that to be the case, that they’ve made it up. Can’t find any evidence other than people saying it happened.

    I’m going under “probably didn’t happen.”

  • Mr Ed

    I agree with neonsnake, it sounds like that well-known Italian reporter at work, Ben Trovato.

    I think that for M Macron, this will be for him what the tragic Diana Car Crash was for Tony Blair, a crisis not to be wasted, be it diverting from his own problems with the gillets jaunes or anything else.

    And someone will slip in some vile Modernism into the rebuilding, rather than some fire-proofing, for which, in this day and age, there is every opportunity but little will to face the cost.

    And French Billionaires appear to be queuing up to contribute to the cost of rebuilding. Better pay for it now to put the wolves a few yards from the door, for now, would be my view, but why pay for it to remain in the cold, dead hand of the State?

  • JohnK

    neonsnake:

    I rather doubt that Macron (unlike Trump) writes his own tweets. So this does sound like what some right-on Enarque employed by the Elysee might well have written on auto-pilot. After all, everything’s diverse nowadays, and everybody’s cool with that, aren’t they?

    The bottom line is that even if Macron did not write it, it is just the sort of thing he would have written. Or to put it another way, he’s a prick.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    ““So what is the libertarian argument against privatizing Notre Dame? Have the government sell it off to the highest bidder to see what the free market can do with that prime real estate in the heart of Paris?”

    The highest bidder, surely, would be all those people who want to keep it as a church, a piece of history, a thing of beauty, a tourist attraction, a cultural artifact, a demonstration of man’s greatest achievements, etc. Right?“

    Nope

    I have no doubt that for many reasons the highest bidder would not be “all those people” wanting to keep it as a cultural artifact. You may also be under the mistaken impression that privatizing Central Park would turn it into an even better park. Perhaps you should google “public good” and “collective action problem”

  • Runcie Balspune

    That’s 876 then.

  • neonsnake

    JohnK

    Nah, it’s too on the nose. It’s such a far-right wet dream of a tweet that I suspect it’s being pushed by the far-right just so they can scream “see?? Do u see? Sheeple! He’s selling us out!!1!”

    I call shenanigans.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “Perhaps you should google “public good” and “collective action problem””

    I know what a public good is. A church isn’t one.

  • Sam Duncan

    “Nope

    I have no doubt that for many reasons the highest bidder would not be “all those people” wanting to keep it as a cultural artifact.”

    Why? What reasons? Which business would want to be known as the firm who demolished an 800 year-old cathedral, one of the cultural icons of France? It would be commercial suicide. Just two individuals have already pledged 300m Euroubles towards its restoration. Why wouldn’t they, and other like-minded people, form some kind of consortium to buy it?

    Non-governmental doesn’t automatically mean commercial. I don’t know if there’s anything like the National Trust in France (while attempting to find out I discovered that there is one in Italy, “a private non-profit organisation [whose] purpose is to protect elements of Italy’s physical heritage”), but if the government announced its intention to dispose of beloved national monuments such as Nôtre Dame, there soon would be.

    On that note, it’s also worth pointing out that selling to the highest bidder isn’t a libertarian argument. That would be that you sell to whoever you choose. It would be perfectly consistent with libertarian principles for the French state to sell – or even donate the property – to a lower bidder whom it believed would be a better steward. A NT-style nonprofit would be a perfect example.

  • Mr Ed

    In the Telegraph (sort of pay-walled) some clickbait personage (I was going to say prick, but thought better of it) is calling for a radical re-design of Notre-Dame, as the pledges get near to €1,000,000,000.

    I like the comment below on the Telegraph piece.

    Hieronymus Bougainville-Scott 16 Apr 2019 11:38PM
    B*ll*cks. This line of thinking is how we ended up with the utter garbage that is Coventry Cathedral.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Sam,

    Excellent, excellent point. *Maximum applause*

    .

    Mr Ed:

    Ghastly, isn’t it.

    Now hereabouts, modern churches are built right. They look either like old-fashioned red barns with a small wooden grain or hay chute on top, or else like convention centers.

  • Mark Green

    Bit late now, but on the subject of what the libertarian argument against privatizing Notre Dame might be, I would suggest that the argument would be that privatisation would be harmful as the property was stolen from the Church in 1905 in good condition and that wrong should be remedied first. Given that there is an contract between the Church and the French govt granting the Church beneficial use of the property in perpetuity which requires the French to rebuild it or else be in breach, I’d say that the libertarian argument against privatisation is that selling off the property would effectively mean the sale of stolen goods which, after negligent damage whilst under the control of the thief, are sold to a third party who effects the eviction of, through no fault of their own, the victims of the original theft. It’s hard to justify privatisation when it looks like fencing stolen goods had a lovechild with eminent domain.

    Restoring the stolen cathedral to its original condition and returning it to the rightful owners to do with as they like seems righteous to me.

  • JohnK

    neonsnake:

    I have no view as to whether this alleged tweet was real.

    What I would believe is that Macron would not write his own tweets, and whatever tweets come out in his name would be just this sort of right-on claptrap. So the point is that even if this tweet were false, it still captures the essence of Macron.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    I see that the basic structure of the building has survived, including the great stained glass windows. Several business tycoons have pledged funds. So the situation could be far, far worse.

    Discussing this with mates yesterday I was struck by how long it took before the fire services came to the scene; there are also unexplained points about the lack of a sprinkler system, or fire alarms, etc.

    This isn’t the first time a building has burned while renovation works are going on. In fact I suspect that if some statistical analysis was done you would find that renovation works increase the risks of a fire.

    As an atheist, I am nonetheless deeply saddened by the damage, and hope the great building regains its former glory. I just hope no Modernist crud defaces it.

    Nullus: The original owners of the Church should be those to decide what to do with it going forward. And it turns out that several business leaders have pledged hundreds of millions to restore it, which is exactly what could and should happen. It is also a massive tourist attraction, and in a free market, ND should indeed be fully restored. The rest of your rant about semi-open borders etc is just your usual boilerplate. Nullius in Verba nicely skewered it.

  • neonsnake

    I have no view as to whether this alleged tweet was real.

    Fair enough.

    For my part, I’m very interested in whether something is actually true, or has been made been made up to serve a political agenda. YMMV.

  • The web never forgets. If the tweet did appear, even for 30 minutes, then it will reappear. If it does not, within a few days, it will be wise to assume it was only a rumour.

    I am more interested in the implication of Runcie Balspune’s data (April 16, 2019 at 4:50 pm). He is not alone in suggesting that the assessment of accident, not arson, made while the fire was not yet out and amplified from ‘for now’ to definite fact in reporting, seems just a bit premature in the light of recent statistics on church fires in France. Accidents happen of course – I doubt anyone hated John Rennie Macintosh’s style so much they torched the Glasgow art centre and then torched it again during its renovation. And Notre Dame was being renovated, which increases the risk of accident.

    I’d suggest keeping a calm open mind about that rather than caring too much about some swiftly-deleted-if-it-ever-existed tweet. (It’s not as if reasons for holding Macron in low esteem are scarce and need to be hoarded.)

  • Johnathan Pearce (London)

    Nullus in V. my comments were directed at the inimitable Shlomo.

  • neonsnake

    I’d suggest keeping a calm open mind about that rather than caring too much about some swiftly-deleted-if-it-ever-existed tweet. (It’s not as if reasons for holding Macron in low esteem are scarce and need to be hoarded.)

    Reasons to hold to facts are very much to be hoarded.

    “Trump says all Mexicans are rapists! *Tweet since deleted*”

    Factually incorrect, yet fits the brand.

    And by factually incorrect, I mean, I just made it up and lied.

    It’s important.

  • Julie near Chicago

    “[B]y factually incorrect, I mean, I just made it up and lied.”

    Like Dan Rather’s report: “fake but accurate.”

  • neonsnake

    Like Dan Rather’s report: “fake but accurate.”

    So fake?

    We can all make up stuff that sounds accurate. And we’ll be “politically correct” in doing so.

    There’s an enormous cynicism in Libertarians who writter on about Political Correctness.

    There’s an enormous amount of cynicism in Libertarians who witter on about trans rights from a libertarian sense, and deny them basic rights. It’s a low blow, punching down etc.

    Basically, I don’t trust them. I think they should grow the fuck up. Anyone who is punching down on 1/200th of the world’s population, they’re not really earning the right to call themselves a libertarian, in my view.

  • Nullius in Verba

    Johnathan Pearce,

    “Nullus in V. my comments were directed at the inimitable Shlomo.”

    Thanks, yes, it took me a moment to realise, but I had already spotted that. No problem. 🙂

    Neonsnake,

    You may find this relevant.

    https://checkyourfact.com/2019/04/17/fact-check-emmanuel-macron-notre-dame-rebuilt-modern-diverse/

  • bobby b

    “There’s an enormous amount of cynicism in Libertarians who witter on about trans rights from a libertarian sense, and deny them basic rights.”

    I doubt you’ll find anyone here wittering on about trans rights in a disparaging fashion. They have all of the same rights you and I have, and most of us take those rights quite seriously.

    What you may be mistaking for such wittering on (I actually have no idea what that term means – I’m guessing it’s another English term like whinging that baffles us over here) is how some of us see real harm being done to people by a mass-hysteria sort of movement, empowered primarily because it has created a new additional victim class ripe for plucking by the PC.

    Gender dysphoria exists, and has real consequences and costs and pains for some people, but it has been taken over as a tool for political purposes, and now does far more harm as a Cause than as a disorder. Most psychologists who have dealt in the area for more than a few months will tell you that the number of people claiming to suffer from this disorder has exploded, and they will also tell you that the diagnosis cannot be supported in very many of them – but people are still being led into irreversible and damaging “treatments” on very little evidence, and when they are at their most vulnerable due to non-dysphoric causes – and even when they are pre-teen. I’m told that we should expect a spike in suicides out of this phase.

    So, no, you won’t be seeing much transsexual-baiting here. But you might see a lot of ridicule of the new trans-exploitation industry.

  • Julie near Chicago

    neon,

    As it happens Samizdata has quite a few commenters who are not strictly or exclusively heterosexual. (I could, but won’t, name some.) But most of us are, I think, sufficiently libertarian that we don’t see the need to harp on the topic of people’s sexuality.

    .

    By the way — Did I hurt your feelings somehow with my “fake but accurate”?

    If so, you completely misunderstood me: I was just giving a real-life example of your “[B]y factually incorrect, I mean, I just made it up and lied.”

    . .

    bobby,

    Good points all. And your final paragraph states it perfectly.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “Most psychologists who have dealt in the area for more than a few months will tell you that the number of people claiming to suffer from this disorder has exploded, and they will also tell you that the diagnosis cannot be supported in very many of them”

    The standard interpretation of the exploding number is that there were always about 1% of the population with the condition, but that up until very recently almost all of them were too scared to come out, because of the way they expected other people to treat them. With reason, it has to be said.

    I’m fascinated by your observation that “most” say this. I’ve not yet come across one in real life who does, and only a handful on the internet. Do you have a survey, or some other documentation for the claim? And the evidence on which they base it? I’m genuinely interested.

    https://whatweknow.inequality.cornell.edu/topics/lgbt-equality/what-does-the-scholarly-research-say-about-the-well-being-of-transgender-people/

  • neonsnake

    By the way — Did I hurt your feelings somehow with my “fake but accurate”?

    No, not at all! 🙂

    Separately, I don’t *think* trans rights is quite the same as sexuality (if I implied so, then that was lack of clear writing on my part) – there’s obviously some crossover, mind, but gender dysphoria and sexuality are not always linked, as far as I’m aware (Not being trans myself; and to the best of my knowledge I don’t know anyone who is openly trans, I can’t be entirely certain). But my choice of example – trans rights – wasn’t to do with sexuality.

    I’ve been mulling over the “bad PR” thing that a few of were talking about elsewhere; the fake tweet feels like it supports my idea that we need to do something about “our” reputation.

    There appeared to be a view that even though it was faked (thanks NIV for the link), it didn’t really matter because it was “accurate”. I feel that there’s a right-wing type of Political Correctness, which is to become outraged at anything that looks like it’s PC.

    I don’t actually have the same views on PC as a lot of people, I don’t think it’s the great evil that many think it is (laws based on restricting speech are a VERY different matter); in many cases it’s just good manners, and in other cases it’s people from minority groups (such as trans people) requesting reasonable treatment, especially when they have a history of being treated poorly. Clearly there are examples where it has gone too far, but I don’t think it’s the biggest evil in the world.

    From the “PR” perspective, I find it depressing when libertarians choose things like trans rights as a hill to fight on (eg. over on “young adults are not as keen on socialism as some might fear”, Shlomo includes transsexual rights as one of the evils that the left act on to justify themselves). It’s unpleasant, and I suspect it’s holding us back, when we have a very real chance now to make a difference – if only we chose different hills to fight on.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    We have gone from a burning 12th Century French cathedral to contemporary PC culture. Impressive.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “Separately, I don’t *think* trans rights is quite the same as sexuality”

    It depends how deeply you want to get into the jargon. ‘Sexual orientation’ is which sex you’re attracted to. ‘Gender identity’ is which gender your mind is, ‘Gender role’ is which you present yourself as to other people. And more.

    And yes, trans people can have either sexual orientation.

    “I’ve been mulling over the “bad PR” thing that a few of were talking about elsewhere; the fake tweet feels like it supports my idea that we need to do something about “our” reputation.”

    I’m not sure that we should consider it as “our” reputation. (I note you put it in quotes.) There’s an essential distinction to be made between a ‘conservative’ and a ‘libertarian’. Because a lot of libertarians lean right, and a lot of conservatives like a selection of libertarian ideas, there’s a tendency to conflate the two. But the Nolan Chart has two axes.

    Opposition to nonconformity with traditional norms about gender roles is a common (right-authoritarian) conservative position. The left-authoritarian response is to clamp down not only on cases where harm is done to such minorities, but also on freedom of belief and speech. Support for nonconformity has become a new social norm, enforced as fiercely as traditional norms were.

    Libertarians should, in theory, oppose any form of imposition of social norms on others (without Harm Principle justification), and should, in theory, see the fight for basic freedoms on behalf of the transgender as being as important as any other such fight. (Smokers, or drinkers, or internet users…) Since a lot of them come from a conservative background, or depend on the support of conservative allies, they are often a lot hotter on opposing political correctness norms than they are opposing enforcement of traditional gender role norms. But that’s how people are. It depends how purist or pragmatic you want to be about your allies.

    Similarly, those libertarians who don’t conform to traditional sex roles, or who have friends who don’t, are rather less sympathetic to the freedom of belief and speech of the authoritarian traditionalists. Yes of course, in theory, but it’s not such a priority for them. Likewise, it’s rather harder to stand up for the freedom of Islamists to hold and express their beliefs when they’re such outrageous authoritarian traditionalists.

    The hardest part of being a libertarian is standing up for the freedom of your enemies.

    As Niemoller pointed out, loss of liberty always starts with those who are most despised and outcast in society, precisely because nobody is willing to fight to the death to defend such a hill. By the time they get to a hill you think worth defending, it’s already too late.


    On the subject of the fake Macron Tweet, the question libertarians should ask is whether there is coercion involved. Some people have traditional values, which they are entitled to hold and express, and some people have ‘modern diverse’ values, which they must be equally entitled to hold and express or it’s not real liberty. Had the Tweet been genuine, it would be an outrage against conservative values, but not libertarian ones. Nobody is being punished for disagreeing with it.

    I don’t have a problem with conservatives doing this sort of thing. But let’s not label it ‘libertarian’, please.

  • neonsnake, from the very start, I was ready to bet a large sum that the tweet was fake. I see my “if it does not reappear in a few days” condition for treating that as an absolute certainty as being in accord with concern for facts. If my phrasing gave any other appearance, it was wholly unintended.

    There’s an enormous amount of cynicism in Libertarians who witter on about trans rights from a libertarian sense

    The analogy (to your – or anyone’s – text above) might strike the uninitiated as coming somewhat from a distance. I have to agree with Johnathan Pearce (April 18, 2019 at 8:32 am): “We have gone from a burning 12th Century French cathedral to contemporary PC culture. Impressive.” Certainly that one seemed to come into this particular thread from afar. 🙂 Just as I observed that reasons for criticising Macron were not hard to find, so it is not like samizdata has no posts/threads where such topics would more naturally arise (and where those you see as cynics might see themselves as thinking and discussing, sometimes learning and sometimes teaching, sometimes having their minds broadened and sometimes broadening the minds of others).

    Of course, you are not wholly alone. Shlomo raises the topic of monarchy often. Sometimes I see relevance and reply with thoughts from Burke’s constitutional monarchy ideas. Often, I see it as a bit tangential to the thread. And I hope the Sage of Kettering will forgive me if I confess that, not that often but occasionally, the thought has crossed my mind to wonder whether the Frankfurt school is quite as central to the current topic of discussion as his comments suggest. 🙂

    My own opinion that Burke is a transcendent genius whose works contain insights on almost everything we discuss is of course unarguable. 🙂 (But I’m not saying whether I mean it is impossible to argue for it or impossible to argue against it; you must work that one out for yourself. 🙂 )

  • neonsnake

    Probably did seem a bit of a non-sequitur 🙂

    (Made total sense to me as an iceberg of thought broke off in all one go, but probably not to others)

    NIV, as ever, did a better job of articulation than I did.

  • neonsnake

    But most of us are, I think, sufficiently libertarian that we don’t see the need to harp on the topic of people’s sexuality.

    I’m struggling to believe that, Julie. I believe it’s true of a number of commentators, yourself included, but the last few days would suggest that it might not be the mainstream view.

    At least, it goes unchallenged.

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