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April 03rd 2013 print

Viscount Monckton of Brenchley

The triumph of the individual over the hive mind

The individual's access to traditional rights and liberties is being eroded where not under direct attack. There are countermeasures, though, and the most potent is a citizen's refusal to be stripped of that which has been so dearly won

Drab, pietistic uniformity is the curse of the collectivist age. Today, with a fearful and unanimously acquiescent docility, the hive mind tediously hums the Party Line, now rebranded “consensus”. Imagination, initiative, inquiry, inspiration, intuition and invention are not merely discouraged but hated. Individuality in any form is not merely loathed but punished.

It is the solecism of modern government imprudently, expensively and too often cruelly to emphasize the collective at the expense of the individual. Yet, as John Stuart Mill wrote,

“The worth of a State, in the long run, is the worth of the individuals composing it. A State which dwarfs its men, in order that they may be mere docile instruments in its hands, even for beneficial purposes, will find that with small men no great thing can really be accomplished.”

Man is at once an island and a universe, an anchorite and a socialite, a lone wolf and a member of the pack. The strength of the West lies in encouraging what Santayana called the “eccentricities, hobbies and humours” of each, not in hindering or punishing individual achievement in the name of all.

In feudal times, the State was everything. The individual, if noticed at all, was recognized solely by his status in the ordained pecking order.

“God blessed the squire and his relations,
And kept us in our proper stations.”

It was only when free-market contract replaced feudal status that the individual, be he never so humble, acquired the right freely to negotiate with his neighbours and, by so doing, to earn advancement by achievement. Social mobility is a feature not of collectivism but of contract and of the cheerful chaos of the free market that it enables.

The idea that the State that is the embodiment of the collective exists to serve its individual citizens rather than the other way about is rooted in the philosophy of that great religion without which there would have been no such thing as the triumphant phenomenon of the free West.  

Christian theologians credit Almighty God with three powers: Creation, by which the Father brings into existence all that exists; Conservation, by which the Son through His redemptive intervention maintains in existence all that is through a continuous and purposeful exercise of His Divine Will; and Concurrency, by which the Holy Spirit runs companionably alongside all creation, permitting those of His creatures whom He has endowed with the precious faculty of reason and the rare privilege of free will to exercise both unhindered.

It is not necessary to acknowledge the truth of Christianity to appreciate the unique and inestimable value that the Church, in consequence of her understanding of the three powers wielded by Her Founder, is obliged to accord to each individual human being. For if Almighty God, upon whose Divine Will the continued existence of each of us is continuously contingent, chooses at this moment to keep each of us in being, then at this moment each of us matters.

The theologians hold that the human soul comprises three faculties: memory, by which we may deduce new knowledge from old and are thus liberated from the compulsion to act through mere instinct; reason, by which we may recognize truth and falsehood; and will, by which we may freely take decisions whether rational or irrational, for good or ill.

Education’s role is to form and to foster the three faculties of the Christian soul. From the Middle Ages until my own generation, all who aspired to attend any institution of higher learning were first obliged to study grammar, the sinew of language, the pathway of learning and the mechanism of memory; logic, the sergeant-major that relentlessly disciplines reason; and rhetoric, the exercise of the will in giving expression in prose or in verse, in speech or in writing, to what we have learned and to what we have pondered in our hearts.

The student, thus armed with the mediaeval trivium, proceeded to study the Classics, to discover that in reason and logic there is a difference between true and false, το όν and το μή όν, what is so and what is not so; the Sciences, to discern where that distinction lies; and Religion, to appreciate why it matters. Today, few study all three.

The consequences of my generation’s failure to honour the practice of those who went before us by handing on to our sons the form as well as the content of the learning that our ancestors handed down to us are now becoming expensively evident. The use of reason is being lost. The Age of Enlightenment has become the Age of Entitlement.

It was the understanding in earlier times that society – which was then called civilization – existed for the nourishment and support of the family, and that the family existed for the sake of each of its members. The end and object of the State, therefore was the individual. The collective was the servant of the one. The individual did not, as the vice-chairman of the International Committee for Local Environmental Initiatives has recently demanded, “take a back seat to the collective”.

Yet a mere generation or two after the Thousand-Year Reich was reduced to rubble and Checkpoint Charlie crumbled a new and more terrible superstition emerges. As with the Red superstition that it supersedes, this latest shameless shamanistic shibboleth, this new totalitarian taboo, assigns to itself a colour. This time it is Green.

In Australia, the uncomfortably comfortable coalition between the Reds and the Greens evidences their common totalitarian heritage. And, just as the national and international socialism of the Age of the Dictators aimed to infest and infect all nations, so the tyranny of pietistic, anti-scientific environmentalism is global in its miserable ambition.

It was in Hitler’s Germany that apparent concern for the environment first became what it remains today: an instrument of centralizing power. In the Germany of today the same hateful, hate-filled ideological tradition still pullulates. Professor Hans-Joachim Schellnhuber said in March 2011: “The German Scientific Advisory Council on Global Environmental Change, which I chair, will soon unveil a master plan for a transformation of society.”

Sure enough, that year the Council wrote: “The decarbonisation of society can only be achieved by limitations on democracy. … The people must accept the absolute pre-eminence of sustainability and must thus surrender their own wishes. The guarantor of this virtual contract is the directing State.”

A Finnish environmental extremist, Pentti Linkola, has said: “An eco-catastrophe is taking place on Earth. … The only solution is discipline, prohibition, enforcement and oppression.” The oppression of which Mr. Linkola spoke is now all too visible in Australia. The miners, farmers and fishermen whose labour built this nation and still provides the bulk of its exports are today subjected to a punitive regime of environmental taxation and over-regulation that is as poisonous as it is absurd.

Miners must pay $25 per tonne – five times the rate charged in Europe and 20 times the Chinese rate – for the right to emit carbon dioxide. They must also pay $500 a tonne to emit methane in extracting coal. As if this were not enough, they must also pay a tax to “rent” the mineral resources that they have taken the trouble and expense to discover and to develop.

Farmers whose irrigation and livestock take less than 1% of the water that falls upon or flows across their land are subjected to cruel and yet entirely pointless water controls, charges and fines.

An entrepreneur in New South Wales decided to establish a fish-farm on his land. He built dams and, after some years of drought, the rain came, the dams filled, and the fish farm was in business. Within days the environmental control commissiarat sent him a demand for $30,000 a year for using his own water.

The farmer consulted his local university, which determined that the net consumption of water by fish was zero. He sent the commissar – who later turned out to be a profiteering tax farmer to whom the politburo had delegated the collection of environmental taxes – an itemized account for zero charging units, with a cheque for zero dollars.

The response was a further notice, this time informing him that he would have to cease trading altogether if, following an imminent inspection, koalas were found on the property. The canny farmer pretended that he was away from his property and agreed to meet the koala inspector there at 9 am the following morning. He slept in his shed. At 6 am the inspector’s ute drew up outside the shed. Furtively, the inspector looked about him and, seeing no one, crept up to a nearby tree and began cutting notches in it to look like claw-marks from a koala. The farmer took photographs through a hole in the shed wall. He confronted the inspector and was never troubled again. But he did not prosecute as he should have done. The wretch is still at large.

A farmer in South Australia who complained about regulations obliging him to plant spiny acacia, a notorious fire hazard, was bluntly told, “We can prosecute you for shifting a rock.”

Obsessive regulation of farmers in the State of Victoria has now become so extreme that the State is the first in Australia to have become a net importer of food.

As for fishermen, according to one of their spokesmen they are now altogether barred from 70% of Australia’s coastal waters.

The Coral Sea off northern Queensland was recently declared a National Marine Park and all fishing was banned over a million square kilometres of the continental shelf. Yet the catch of the once-thriving and now-decimated Cairns fishing fleet amounted to just 192 grams, or five ounces, per square kilometre per year. The fishery was sustainable, but the green commissars have shut it down.

Professor David Shearman, a contributor to the documents of the U.N.’s climate panel, in The Climate Challenge and the Future of Democracy, wrote:

“Specially-trained philosopher-ecologists will either rule themselves or advise an authoritarian government of policies based on their ecological training and philosophical sensibilities.”

This environmentalist totalitarianism is viscerally, viciously opposed not merely to the rights and freedoms of the individual but to the very survival of humanity itself. For instance, David Graber has said: “Human happiness, and certainly human fecundity, is not as important as a wild and healthy planet. … Some of us can only hope for the right virus to come along.”

The Duke of Edinburgh, as president of the World Wide Fund for Nature, whose policies are not readily distinguishable from those of a Marxist front organization, said he would like to be resurrected as a deadly virus to cut the human population.

Peter Singer, co-author with Bob Brown of The Greens, has written:

“The grounds for not killing persons do not apply to new-born infants, [who] cannot see themselves as beings and might not have a future.” In the Sydney Morning Herald on 31 March 2001, he also wrote: “Sex with animals is not an offence to our status and dignity as human beings.”

On Earth Day in 2005, Sandra Kanck said:

“Australia’s 22 million people must be reduced to 7 million: and restricting each couple to one baby, as China does, is one way of assisting to reduce the population.”

Bill Gates has advocated vaccination to cut the world’s population from 7 billion to just 1 billion. Mikhail Gorbachev wants to use abortion and contraception to cut the population to 700 million. Ted Turner wants fewer than 300 million humans to survive. No doubt he would like to be one of them.

The drastic reduction in the world’s population that the dismal Green extremists increasingly demand would be impossible without an all-powerful, dictatorial world government. The draft Copenhagen Climate Treaty of September 15, 2009, was a detailed, 186-page blueprint for just such an entity:

“The scheme for the new institutional arrangement under the [UN Framework] Convention [on Climate Change] will be based on three basic pillars: government, facilitative mechanism and financial mechanism.”

The “facilitative mechanism” would have given the new world “government” the power to enforce its will whether elected national governments liked it or not. It was to have been “drawn up to facilitate the design, adoption and carrying out of public policies … as the prevailing instrument, to which market rules and related dynamics should be subordinated.”

The “financial mechanism” would have empowered the world “government” to impose a range of direct taxes on all nations, including a wealthy-nations tax at 2% on all financial transactions; a worldwide cap-and-trade regime; and the power to impose unlimited fines on nations that refused to comply with the “government’s” interferences in the economic and environmental affairs of nations.

The world “government” was not to be elected. The words “democracy”, “ballot” and “vote” did not appear anywhere in the 186-page draft. Instead,

“The government will be ruled by the Conference of the [States] Parties [to the Climate Change Convention] with the support of a new subsidiary body on adaptation, and of an Executive Board responsible for the management of the new funds and the related facilitative processes and bodies”.

In 1934 Adolf Hitler, in Mein Kampf, had written,

“There will be no body of representatives which makes its decisions through the majority vote. … No vote will be taken in the Parliament.”

Fortunately the Copenhagen Treaty draft was widely publicized before it was debated. Consequently, it failed. But it revealed the anti-democratic ambitions of a global classe politique that has become dangerously detached and remote from the peoples it thirsts to rule.

The pretext for this global “government”, and for the Agenda 21 regime of ruthless environmental control that is its prolix but chilling manifesto, is the imagined – and imaginary – threat of catastrophic manmade global warming.

In no previous generation could so baseless a scare have taken such widespread root. The globalization of group-think is manifested in the unbecoming alacrity with which almost all governments have united against their peoples on the pretext of fighting the “global warming” that has been embarrassingly conspicuous by its near-total absence over the past two decades.

Near-universal governmental acceptance of the global-warming scam is a danger-signal of the greatest threat to freedom, honour, peace and prosperity in the 21st century: global totalitarianism.

The adherence of our classe politique to climatic authoritarianism is all the more startling in that each of the principal arguments for alarm about the supposed imminence of climatic apocalypse in response to our altering 1/3000 of the composition of the atmosphere by 2100 is a logical fallacy first propounded by the philosopher Aristotle 2350 years ago.

“Consensus” is the New Superstition’s central argument. Yet arguing blindly from consensus is the head-count fallacy, the argumentum ad populum. Al-Haytham, founder of the scientific method, wrote:

“The seeker after truth does not put his faith in any mere consensus. Instead, he checks and checks again. The road to the truth is long and hard, but that is the road we must follow.”

In two surveys purporting to show 97% of climate scientists supporting “consensus”, the 97% agreed no more than that the world has warmed since 1950.

One survey involved just 79 scientists, hardly a scientific sample size. Neither selected its sample to eliminate bias. Neither even asked how much of the warming was manmade, still less whether it might prove catastrophic. – 9 –

The claim that the “consensus” is one of revered experts is the argumentum ad verecundiam, the fallacy of appeal to authority. As T.H. Huxley said in 1860,

“The improver of natural knowledge absolutely refuses to acknowledge authority, as such. For him, scepticism is the highest of duties: blind faith the one unpardonable sin.”

True-believers in the New Superstition talk of a “consensus of evidence”. Yet evidence can scarcely hold opinions.

Besides, even the head of the U.N.’s climate panel admitted in Melbourne earlier this month that there has been no global warming for 17 years. Global warming that was inaccurately predicted for tomorrow but has not occurred for almost two decades until today cannot have caused yesterday’s extreme weather, now, can it?

In any event,

  • satellite data show the recent Australian summer was not the warmest on record.
  • Raw data from the Envisat satellite showed global sea level rising for eight years at just 1.3 in/century.
  • Notwithstanding Sandy and Bopha, hurricane activity is at its least in the 33-year satellite record.
  • Landfalling tropical cyclones in Australia have shown a downtrend for more than a century.
  • Ocean heat content is rising four and a half times more slowly than predicted.
  • Global sea-ice extent has changed little and may have been less in the 1920s and ’30s than today.
  • Himalayan glaciers have not lost ice overall.
  • The U.N.’s absurd 2005 prediction of 50 million “climate refugees” by 2010 has proven entirely false.

The 2006 Stern Report’s assumption of a 1 in 10 probability that the world would end by 2100 because of manmade warming now appears even more absurd than when it was first deployed. The real-world evidence, insofar as it is legitimate to talk of a “consensus” of it, does not support catastrophism.

True-believers say: “Only if we include a strong warming effect from CO2 can we explain the past 60 years’ warming. We know of no other reason.”

This is the argumentum ad ignorantiam, the fundamental fallacy of argument from ignorance. Besides, natural variability is reason enough.

They say: “Global warming is accelerating, so we are to blame.” Even if warming were accelerating, this non sequitur is an instance of the argumentum ad causam falsam, the fallacy of arguing from a false cause. They go on to say: “CO2 concentration has risen; warming has occurred; the former caused the latter.” This is the post hoc ergo propter hoc sub-species of the same fallacy. Mere correlation does not necessarily imply causation.

They say: “What about the cuddly polar bears?” This is the argumentum ad misericordiam, the fallacy of needless pity. There are five times as many polar bears as there were in the 1940s – hardly, as you may think, the profile of a species at imminent threat of extinction. No need to pity the bears, and they are not cuddly.

They say: “We tell the models there will be strong CO2-driven warming. And, yes, they tell us the same.” This is the fallacy of arguing in circles, the argumentum ad petitionem principii. The premise is also the conclusion.

They say: “Global warming caused extra-tropical storm Sandy.” This inappropriate argument from the general to the particular is the argumentum a dicto simpliciter ad dictum secundum quid, the fallacy of accident. Individual extreme events cannot be ascribed to global warming.

They say: “Melting Arctic sea ice means the world is warming.” This unsound argument from the particular to the general is the argumentum a dicto secundum quid ad dictum simpliciter, the fallacy of converse accident. Arctic sea ice is melting, but the Antarctic has cooled for 30 years and the sea ice there is growing. Arctic ice loss indicates neither a global problem nor a manmade one.

They say: “Monckton is not a scientist, so he is not credible.” This is the argumentum ad hominem, a shoddy sub-species of ignoratio elenchi, the fallacy of introducing a red herrings by attacking the man and not his argument, so demonstrating fundamental ignorance of how a true argument should be conducted.

Believers say: “We don’t care what the truth is. We want more power, tax and regulation. Global warming is our pretext. If you disagree, we will haul you before the International Climate Court.” This is the nastiest of all logical fallacies: the argumentum ad baculum, the argument of force.

The European Union has pursued the notion of an International Climate Court for some years. A proposal for such a court was included in the draft conclusions of the UN’s climate conference at Durban in 2011 until the draft was publicized, whereupon half of it was dropped within 24 hours, including a lunatic proposal to cause mass extinction by halving the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide.

The Durban draft had also proposed to give rights of legal personality to “Mother Earth”, though it was not made clear how she was going to initiate proceedings in her Climate Court, nor who was going to pay her legal fees.

The triumph of the individual over the collective is the glory of Western civilization and the secret of its success. To extinguish the many self-inflicted threats to the West today, a new manifesto for the future of our civilization is needed. Here it is.

First, baby-butchering, as Senator John Madigan bluntly dubs it, must be outlawed at once. A society that tortures and kills the little children of its own race in the womb of their mothers is not entitled to call itself a “civilization”.

The piecemeal dismemberment common in Britain and the injection of the baby’s heart with poison that is usual in Australia cause acute pain to the child, yet anaesthetics are often not given. That is torture, which remains a crime not only against the child but against humanity itself.

Setting aside the self-evident immorality of abortion, especially when aggravated by torture, our race is consigning itself to rapid extinction. Muslims do not kill their children in the womb. In this crucial respect, they are fully entitled to consider their otherwise mediaeval religion morally superior to our nasty, secular regime of brutality to babies. They are consciously deploying what they call “the power of the womb” to outbreed us. In Russia, this year, they became a majority over all other populations. In many Western nations, the same will soon be true.

In a democracy, the majority forms the government. Those who are inclined to indulge the spread of Islam, and to oppose even the mildest criticism of it, may yet come to regret that they did not hold more tightly to the gentleness and freedom that were the hallmarks of the West.

Of the British Empire the philosopher Santayana wrote, “The world never had sweeter masters”. If the West dies, the world’s future masters may prove bitterer than we.

The oil-fired Islam that is now the most likely successor to the hegemony of the West will have its good points. I have already cited with approval the founder of the scientific method, Abu Ali Ibn al-Haytham.

Also, were it not for the Islamic scholars of southern Spain, many of the Classical texts I had the good fortune to study at Cambridge would not be available to us.

The Ahmadiyya Muslim sect, which values not only peace and freedom but also scholarship much as Christianity does, now accounts for one-sixth of all Islam, though it is little known in the West. It is possible that Islam may yet become less intolerant of the infidel than every page of the Qur’an requires the followers of the Prophet to be.

If the West is to flourish again it must relearn the art of retaining its own distinct cultural and political identity while understanding and, where appropriate, accepting that others will be different.

To reach a better understanding with other systems, an educated and enlightened population is essential. We must replace the current costly, State-mandated simulacrum of education with the reality of true education. Three of many reasons:

The tedious stream of feeble-minded logical fallacies that are deployed over and over again to justify the vicious excesses of climate extremism would neither have been perpetrated nor accepted for a single instant if real education had truly been universal.

Secondly, propaganda – especially anti-scientific Green propaganda – is now near-universal even in elementary schools. The party-political propagandization of children should be – as it is in England and Wales – illegal everywhere.

Thirdly, look about you and see how gambling ruins the lives of millions here in Australia. Yet a single 30-minute lesson on the gambler’s-ruin formula would inoculate every pupil against the infection that is habitual gambling. Pokies would become a museum curiosity.

The gambler’s-ruin formula is one example of what might be included in a Personal Survival curriculum of just one lesson a week. How does a mortgage work? How do I start a company? What about everyone learning first aid? Or how to run a household budget, or calculate the bookies’ overround, or fight a small claim, or react when arrested?

We have made the world a complicated and dangerous place for the ignorant: yet State education has made almost everyone ignorant.

It is time to put the government in its place and the individual on his throne. In future, every elected or appointed official of government in any executive or managerial capacity must be subjected to exactly the same personal liability for peculation, fraud, theft or negligence as any company director. The same law should apply to all.

Talking of the law, simplification is now urgent. The courts still penalize the citizen, often savagely, on the assumption that everyone is assumed to know the whole of the law. That assumption has long been nonsense. The law needs radical simplification to assert a minimum of general principles, with the detailed application in individual cases left to the common sense of the courts. A good start could be made by trashing just about all environmental legislation.

International law also needs urgent attention. At present no supra-national body is elected by the peoples of the States parties to its founding treaty, and no international body is squarely accountable to any national or international jurisdiction. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, for instance, can profit by fraudulently peddling falsehoods about the climate, and neither the Panel nor any of its personnel can be brought before any criminal court.

It is also necessary to review the powers of existing international bodies. The UN, which continues to try to turn itself into an all-powerful world government, has arguably outlived its usefulness and should be abolished, along with the hundreds of racketeering agencies it has spawned. At the very least, membership of such international bodies should be subjected to popular referendum. The UN has few supporters except among the classe politique.

One might add this amendment to the U.S. Constitution:

“The President shall not agree, the Senate shall not ratify, and the Supreme Court shall not recognize any Treaty granting legislative, executive, or judicial authority to any international entity whose governors shall not have been elected by regular, secret ballot of the people of the United States. All such Treaties formerly made, ratified, or recognized are hereby repudiated unless and until confirmed by a two-thirds majority in a national referendum, and no such Treaty shall be made, ratified, or recognized hereafter except following such a referendum.”

The right of initiative referendum should be introduced throughout the West, to give the voters a chance directly to decide on policies that matter to them, and to bind their politicians to carry out their decision.

Nationally, to keep government small, no government, and no institution or agency funded by the taxpayer, should ever be permitted to run a deficit or to borrow.

A governing party incapable of balancing the books should be automatically ejected from office and debarred from standing in the consequent general election.

In future, no one should be entitled to stand for any elected office unless he or she has first passed a stiff, independently-supervised examination in public administration, including the elements of public finance, of mathematics and of science.

The inverse relation between the power and wealth wielded by politicians and the absence of professional standards or pre-qualifications must not be allowed to do any more damage.

It should not be necessary for Roy Morgan Research to maintain a separate count establishing that unemployment in Australia is twice as high as the Government says it is. Numeracy and probity are essential at all levels of government.

Debt has already destroyed the sovereignty of Western nations. Creditor countries now control us. The chief reason for our bankruptcy is welfare.

The welfare state has failed everywhere. The money has run out. The overtaxed citizen can no longer afford the ever-greater demands made of him by the restless army of the State’s clients. Immediate surgery – as an alternative to Cypriot-style bankruptcy and outright revolution – is now unavoidable.

To prevent now-widespread welfare fraud, everyone who wishes to claim any benefit in cash or in kind at the expense of the taxpayer should be asked to prove who he is.

Non-intrusive biometric methods are at last available. They should be introduced at once. If you want our money, prove who you are, and do not whine about civil liberties when we check before we pay.

Secondly, any immigrant who wants to stay in a Western country must declare his intention at the port of entry. His biometric details will be taken. He will not be entitled to claim any benefit for five years after his arrival. He must insure himself against unemployment, ill health and hardship.

No declaration, no benefits, ever. That will halt unaffordable economic migration.

Thirdly, every citizen should be given a weekly cash benefit, as of right, that is enough to enable him to survive provided that he lives in a household of three or more. The universal benefit should increase with age, and should not be withdrawn or taxed. Once it is in place, the minimum wage and associated restrictions can be abolished, greatly reducing the cost of employing basic, unskilled labour while ensuring that all have a minimum acceptable income.

There should also be a single, flat rate of income tax, which should be slowly reduced as taxes on expenditure are increased. Thrift will be rewarded and conspicuous consumption heftily taxed.

These measures would sweep away the unemployment trap, which makes it more rewarding to be on the dole than in work, and the poverty trap, which makes it more worthwhile to earn less than to earn more.

The purpose of this manifesto for the free West is the immediate enfranchisement, enrichment and empowerment of the individual at the expense of the bureaucratic-centralist State. Let every child have the chance to see the sun. Let every pupil have the chance of true education. Let every citizen have a guaranteed income. Let him keep as much as possible of his own wealth in his own pocket.

Set him free from over-regulation. Tax him less. Trust him more. Let free-market contract prevail over feudal, totalitarian status. Keep national and local government small. Elect all supra-national entities of government, or scrap them altogether.

The cheerless, uniformitarian etatisme and dirigisme of the centralizing State tend everywhere to deny freedom, to endanger peace, to reserve honour for the privileged few at the expense of the hapless many, and to destroy prosperity. Henceforth, the individual must prevail.

Exactly a century ago Lord Denman, laying the foundation stone of Canberra, said, “Remember that the traditions of this city will be the traditions of Australia. Let us hope that they will be traditions of freedom, of peace, of honour, and of prosperity.”

Let the individual stand proud again, and let the State and all its agencies humbly serve him.

Let freedom ring! Let peace prevail! Let honour be restored! Let the neo-Puritanism of environmentalist sanctimony be done away with! Let us be cheerful again! Let individual ambition and enterprise and prosperity flourish! –  

Let the angel answer the oldest of all questions thus:

The angel’s answer

Why art thou here? To be elsewhere. Embark!
The ancient spire appoints the morrow’s way
Across the shining stepping-stones of dark
To greet a distant, scarce-imagined day.
Go forth! Thou wast not fashioned to digress
Among familiar comforts, but to stride
Th’ uncharted, silent, raging nothingness,
Unsated curiosity thy guide.
Find faith to breach the lintel of the skies;
Have hope, for thou shalt surely gain thy goal;
Let love and life and laughter light thine eyes,
Mirth, music, merriment sustain thy soul.
Strive for the stars! Touch there thy Deity,
Thy destination and thy destiny.


This address delivered at Roy Morgan Research on the evening of March 26, 2013