“I have of late, lost all my mirth,
Such that this goodly frame, the earth
Seems to me a sterile promontory;
Golden fire frets roof in glory
Majestical, but foul and pestilent,
Vapours gather, and are spent.
What a piece of work is man!
When he formulates a plan
‘Gainst nature, how very like a god!
He presses boots so heavily shod
Upon his fellow, so that he will learn
That everyone must have their turn
Or, dust and ashes, all will burn.”
(with apologies to William Shakespeare)
October 2017: One hundred years ago Lenin issued his famous call to arms and ‘the people’ (well, a few of them) rose up and defenestrated a crumbling, rotting ancien regime.
I would be easy to scoff. H. L. Mencken, in his “Observations of Government,” suggested that “Political revolutions, in truth, do not often accomplish anything of genuine value; their one undoubted effect is simply to throw out one gang of thieves and put in another.” But with due respect to Mencken, he overlooks the fact that revolutions can achieve a lot. Take the USSR, that mighty experiment in social reform. From 1917 to 1990, it achieved great things, our list of which is but a paltry sample:
The Varnished Culture looks around and finds that we are, here and abroad, well up-with-the-clock on many items from the above list. This tends to suggest that, maybe, the fall of the wall and the USSR was but a battle, and that the Real War continues. The War currently has subtler forms – economics, social mores, identity politics…lambs-wool on a wolf’s back!