The Curmudgeon


Sunday, September 23, 2018

Bad Theology

Text for today: Matthew 13 xliv-l

Jesus invokes three separate metaphors for the kingdom of Heaven. The first is a hidden treasure, which a man finds in a field and then conceals again before selling everything he owns to buy the field. The second is a pearl of great value discovered by a merchant, who sells all he has in order to acquire that pearl. The third is a net thrown into the sea, which draws out fish of every kind; the fishermen sort the fish into good and bad, just as the angels will separate mankind into the righteous and those who are to be burned with wailing and gnashing of teeth.

The three parables follow a progression which reflects the stages of the kingdom's approach. The first stage is private revelation: the man finds the treasure and keeps it to himself until he can get hold of it in full. The second stage is spreading the gospel: the pearl is found by a merchant, who presumably will sell it on in return for a suitable reimbursement. The third stage, and predictably the one on which Jesus dwells the longest and in most detail, is the new kingdom's torture and murderous purge of everyone who has neglected to behave with similar commercial acumen.

The first two parables encapsulate the kingdom's primary moral requirement of blind fanaticism. Since human beings cannot know the mind of God, they cannot know who will be saved and who will be damned. Therefore the value of the pearl and the treasure in the field are necessarily unknown quantities, and those who sell all they have to purchase them act out of blind faith in their own judgement, rather than from any rational comparison between the heavenly treasures and their worldly wealth. The third parable indicates the substance of the bargain: Jesus makes the usual threats of torment and grief for anyone who fails to be ruled by the correct master.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Putting Things Far Right

No-one could accuse the Conservative Party of failing to learn from its mistakes, although there might be room for debate as to which among its various acts of poor-bashing, cripple-kicking and witch-hunting were undertaken in error. The merely decent and civilised, for example, might consider arbitrarily depriving British citizens of their rights as British citizens to be, at the very best, a mistaken policy, especially as the Clegg-pledging race-baiter Amber Rudd eventually had to resign over lying about it. However, her replacement as Minister for Wog Control has now announced that, in compensation for the errors of the past, British citizens are to be arbitrarily deprived of their rights as British citizens, and that it is up to the victims to get things cleared up should they happen to disagree with their new racial classification. In a further orgasm of progress up the learning curve, Her Majesty's Government has ensured that no independent legal advice will be available and that the appeal process is not yet in place. The difference between present and previous Windrush persecutions appears to be that, instead of telling lies about it, the incumbent Minister for Wog Control is sneaking out some semblance of the truth last thing on a Friday afternoon, and hoping that only the racist voters will notice.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Brexit Fallout

Such have been the effects of the Osbornomic miracle and the wonders of free trade outside the chains of Euro-wog interference, that the Ministry for Wog-Bombing faces serious questions regarding its ability to collaborate in a radioactive global holocaust, should the opportunity arise. The Ministry is gallantly trying to dispose of obsolete nuclear submarines, which apparently the head-chopping House of Saud wasn't interested in buying, but has never tried the task before and can't quite get the hang of it. Also, and perhaps even less conveniently, the instruments of virtuous genocide are reliant on materials and engineers imported from the Continent and tainted with Brusso-Strasbourgian federalism. Also, it seems there are whispers of doubt as to whether Liam Fox, the vole-brained former Minister for Werritty, will be able to arrange for imports of equivalent quality from Ceylon or Rhodesia even if the mainland's entire production of Marmite is offered in exchange; so doubtless the public accounts committee's findings will rouse considerable parliamentary rumbles. It's all very well for Her Majesty's Government to destroy the National Health Service, put the proles on starvation wages and remove the protection of the law from anyone who can't afford to pay; but even the House of Expenses Claimants has its moral limits, and the threat of deterioration in Britain's weapons of mass destruction is likely to breach those limits with a bang.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Still Not Quite Getting It

In spite of Tumbledown Tessie's diplomatic skills, which are famous for being so subtle that nobody can detect them, it seems the ghastly Euro-wogs are determined to keep the Continent out of step with the will of the British people. The semi-literate fantasy-fiction clunker which was scribbled out at Chequers will not be regarded by the Brusso-Strasbourgian axis as a viable instrument of its own unconditional surrender, even though Chequers wasn't quite stupid enough to gain more than temporary support from Boris Johnson. As always, everyone seems to have forgotten who won the war, especially the Poles and French whose refugees did so much to tarnish the Conservative Party's finest hour by diluting the ethnic purity of the Battle of Britain; while the chancellor of the punishment-beaters tried to foil our plucky pragmaticism with windy neo-Heideggerian abstraction. "No one can belong to the single market if they are not part of the single market," was the gnomic proclamation of Angela Merkel, in a blatant though naturally futile attempt to blind Her Majesty's Government with the blindingly obvious.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

In the Name of Jeremy, the Compassionate, the Merciful

The continuing imprisonment of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has moved the diplomatic editor of Britain's leading liberal newspaper to a saccharine eructation in praise of the hard work and compassion of Jeremy Hunt. Zaghari-Ratcliffe was arrested for spying and had the misfortune to fall under the care of Hunt's predecessor, the then Imperial Haystack, who casually claimed that her story was false. According to the Guardian's resident psychic, the present Minister for Wogs, Frogs and Huns has been labouring tirelessly for her release, but "clearly feels he is not making progress" and has issued a warning to the public which "reflects the frustration" that Iranian intransigence has stirred in Hunt's compassionate soul. Hunt's feelings and frustration are unquestionably present as stated, and by no means mere schoolgirly speculation by the Guardian's diplomatic editor, because comment is free and facts are sacred. In all fairness, the Ministry's advice does constitute a positive action, in that it shifts the burden of responsibility away from the Government and onto the hapless traveller: it consists of a warning to those with dual nationality not to travel to Iran unless deported by Hunt's colleagues at the Home Office.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

All Righteous Together

Few genuinely pious god-botherers worry much about the beam in their eye when there is a neighbour to be blamed for the mote in his own; hence Tumbledown Tessie's sermon to the United Jewish Israel Appeal, in which she professed herself sickened by other people's antisemitism days after her own party's MEPs refused to censure an antisemite. Tumbledown Tessie proclaimed that she does not "underestimate the threat posed by those who promote antisemitism, or hatred in any form", which may explain her frequent vocal condemnations of the scumbag press for its traitor-hunts, Muslim-scares and migrant-bashings; not to mention her trenchant criticism of those who seek to deprive British citizens and long-term residents of their rights while dismissing political opponents as citizens of nowhere. Tumbledown Tessie proclaimed that she wishes to "fight racial and religious hatred" by defending the values of Israel, which apart from the minor matter of its illegal military aggression has recently legislated away the official status of its Arab citizens' language, and is governed by a man who blames the Holocaust more on an Arab than on Lord Rothermere's chum with the moustache. Tumbledown Tessie concluded by paying the Righteous State the ultimate tribute and comparing it to her own Recrudescent Imperium of fracking, food-banks and arms to the Saudis: "Israel is a country like ours that believes in liberty, democracy and the rule of law;" and certainly few would dispute that Tumbledown Tessie's belief in liberty, democracy and the rule of law is at least as sincere as that of the average xenophobic nuclear-weaponed war criminal.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Lying Everywhere But Down

While a certain desperation to be populist is understandable in the present climate, the ex-Deputy Conservatives may have pushed the bounds of good taste a little by staging yet another tired zombie comedy and allowing the sad remains of Nick Clegg to reek and gargle their way through the old, worn-out lines. Such has been the moral effect of fagging for the Bullingdons that the remains of Nick Clegg are now using the Conservatives' language of historical rah-rah to excuse his party's record in office. Like the Somme, the Bengal famine, the South African concentration camps and the slave trade, the coalition was all a very long time ago. Furthermore, the ex-Deputy Conservatives ought to be jolly proud of themselves, mostly on the pragmatic grounds that mea culpas don't win elections but also because the narrative that they "merrily went along with a savage, ideological approach to austerity which deliberately penalised the poor" is simply not true. Presumably the remains of Nick Clegg possess video evidence that the Deputy Conservative MPs whose seats he so proudly sacrificed did not always toddle through the lobbies with merry smiles on their faces; otherwise, much to our regret, we would be forced to suspect that truth and the remains of Nick Clegg have still not quite managed to get into the same rose garden.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Bad Theology

Text for today: Matthew 9 ii-vi, 12 i-xiii; John 9 i-iii

A paralysed man is brought to Jesus, who tells him to take heart because his sins are forgiven. Observing that some scribes regard this as blasphemous, Jesus heals the man as a demonstration of His authority on earth. Later, walking through grainfields on the Sabbath, the disciples start plucking heads of grain to eat. When the Pharisees rebuke Him for allowing them to do what is unlawful on the Sabbath, Jesus replies that He is lord of the Sabbath, and then proceeds to the synagogue and heals a man's withered hand. Asked whether a man blind from birth was afflicted because of his own sins or his parents', Jesus replies that he was afflicted in order to demonstrate the works of God.

With regard to the suffering of others, Jesus was at best indifferent and at worst vengefully enthusiastic. It is hardly surprising, therefore, that His healing is done less from any charitable inclination than from an urge to demonstrate His own power and authority, and as a rebuke to His enemies. The egocentric callousness behind His ostentatious philanthropy is particularly evident in the episode of the blind man, whose suffering Jesus regards as nothing more than an opportunity for Him to perform yet another marketing stunt on behalf of the family firm.

Jesus makes use of the blind man's predicament in a play on words, describing Himself as the light of the world as the blind man's eyes are opened. HIs method of achieving the cure is to rub the man's eyes with mud; and in a backhanded acknowledgement of the discredit which His words reflect on both the Saviour and His Father, the evangelist John spends the rest of his chapter slinging mud at the Jews.

God's answer to the flaws in His creation is to make occasional piecemeal repairs and then to demand the grovelling thanks of His victims - a similar attitude to that of the retired slaveholder who founds a hospital, or the senile tyrant who invests in a children's home. The healing carried out by Jesus is essentially a marketing strategy, with all the moral significance of a television advertisement for a private healthcare company.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

It's So Fiendishly Obvious

At the present stage of the American electoral cycle, to say nothing of such secondary matters as the generally febrile state of western politics, it can only appear suspicious that an FBI raid on a New Mexico observatory has been greeted by conspiracy theorists with such a devastating lack of imagination. Agents in Black Hawk helicopters have shut down the suggestively-named Sunspot Solar Observatory, doubtless with the usual calm efficiency and respect for ethnic minorities, which has spawned the usual speculation that the observatory has discovered proof of alien life. Support for this hypothesis lies in the fact that Roswell is only a hundred and twenty miles away, and nothing appeals to the alien mind so much as being discovered within a reasonable distance of the alleged frozen remains of another alien. A slightly less conventional idea is that the observatory discovered that the sun is dying, and presumably others have postulated equally likely discoveries such as the flatness of the world, the daily revolution of the entire Universe around Sunspot, New Mexico, and the role of Iran, the Heathen Chinee and assorted Democrats in fattening up Hurricane Florence.

What nobody has yet done, unless certain people have been conveniently silenced, is to connect the incident at the observatory with the FBI's continuing persecution of the Trumpster and the hydrophobic orange head-tribble which feeds him all his least earthbound thoughts. With the mid-term elections only weeks away, it was surely inevitable that head-tribble activity would increase to a level detectable even by mere scientists; and given the general malevolence of the FBI it was surely just as inevitable that clandestine counter-action would be taken. Are the conspiracy theorists in on the cover-up? I think I have said enough, and not only because one should almost never theorise in advance of the known facts.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Moral Leadership

It is of course fatuous to rebuke the Church of England for insufficient concern with the teachings of Jesus. If the Church of England had any belief in the Gospels, it would withdraw from the House of Lords and all its members would be wandering the country without a spare coat, doing psychosomatic conjuring tricks and proclaiming the end of the world. The charge of hypocrisy is a little harder to dismiss, even assuming sufficient faith to blind one to the fact that the Church greeted the onset of the coalition's assault on the poor by calling in the City of London's boot-boys to hose protesters off the steps of St Paul's. Since then the Church has been largely concerned with its various sexual problems; but a mere seven years into the disaster its chief salesman has delivered a sermon against zero-hours contracts and corporate tax-dodgers, only to find, mirabile dictu, that the Church employs people on zero-hours contracts and invests in corporate tax-dodgers. It is of course fatuous to argue that religion and politics should not mix, since both of these ancient professions are intimately concerned with essentially the same issue, namely the profitable duping of our fellow sinners.