12 November, 2008

From His Diary

Today I crossed the street before a Mack truck. Staring at its huge, panting muzzle, I finally saw just how horrible it would be to actually get "hit by a Mack truck." And that eventuality seems likely enough. I imagine mowing down the elderly is one of the chief pleasures of the drooling oafs who drive such things.

21 December, 2007

From His Archives

Remember Ye The Third!

John Milton, the great poet and even greater republican theorist, gave us words to live by when he minted this classic aphorism: ‘Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty’. [1] A particularly worrying consequence of our national coma is neglect of the Third Amendment. There is no shortage of garrulous idiots invoking the First, and thank heavens there are still a few biorchous [2] males defending the Second, but the Third gets less attention than a fat sorority girl.

We can maintain the illusion that the Third Amendment does not matter because the country is not currently at war, and because even if we were at war the armed forces would not (we think) feel the slightest temptation to quarter any of their troops in our private residences. But we are forgetting the possibility, nay, probability, that this country will again be plunged into civil war, and that within the decade. My sources tell me that the liberals are planning to take the better part of the North-East, and that they have been assured the support of the Canadians. Quashing this rebellion could require major mobilization of troops on the continental United States: who knows what measures the Union generals might consider expedient during the war or in the tumultuous Reconstruction 'peace' that follows? We must make sure that the constitutional limitations on the Army’s power are to the forefront of the national consciousness so that we are never tempted into the hypocrisy of sinning against freedom while claiming to defend it.

The matter would be all the more urgent because we would presumably not have mustered the political will to get rid of the stupid ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy so proudly maintained by President Bill ‘The Adulterous Sexaholic Perjurer’ Clinton. It is enough to have to deal with the possible effect of virile young soldiers (who are not, if you will pardon the pun, uniformly honorable) on one’s womenfolk. One should not also have to worry that some of them will try to give your impressionable sons an impromptu Spartan initiation into army life.

Porterfield Higgins-Jones Jr.

Guest Editorial in Feudal Times and Reactionary Herald (American Edition), dated 20 December, 2000

[1] The quotation is not in fact from Milton but originally (circa 1808) from Wendell Philips, an utter nobody.

[2] ‘Two-testicled’. Etymology Greek. Compare with ‘orchid’.

-P.H-J. IV

13 December, 2007

Aphorism from his Commonplace Book

Insufficient for the day is the bacon thereof.

The Blessed Fight Continues

My grandfather's passing has met with such a clamor for more of his wisdom that I, as his literary executor, have decided to publish occasional samples from his work. His estate is creating a multivolume edition of his collected works (papers, novels, speeches, poetry, libretti, etc.) This will be a labor of decades, but in the meantime do enjoy whichever of his essays, poems, aphorisms, etc it pleases me to toss you. He entrusted me with the password to this weblog, and so posts will still be done in his name. I find this appropriate, if also somewhat creepy.

-Porterfield Higgins-Jones IV

08 December, 2007


My doctors tell me that I will be dead in the next five minutes, so I'm afraid I must be rather brief. Don't bother with pilgrimages or even post-mortem Festschriften: remember me only by carrying on the blessed fight for the good, the true, the beautiful and lower taxes.

Off to rage against the dying of the light.

Requiem aeternam dona me, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat me.

God Bless,
Porterfield Higgins-Jones Jr. (Esq., BSci; AB x 3; PhD; M.Phil; M. Div; Etc.)

Lefty Activists: Effective as Paper Condoms

We can talk, but money talks [ergo]:

Let’s talk mo’ bucks.

-Sean Carter, popular poet.

The tiresome pansy who just usurped John Howard’s place as prime minister of Australia made two immediate promises: come hell or high water he will offer an official apology to the aborigines and go to the current global warming powwow in Bali. Is this not a quintessential liberal checklist?: 1) Beat chest over collective guilt; 2)Attend international meeting.

Like their Australian cousins, American liberals love impotent collective gestures and endless consultation over ‘crises’, while conservatives (or ‘Americans’, as they used to be called) celebrate and encourage the power of the heroic individual to take matters into his own hands and, by his personal industry and skillful mobilization of social capital, get the money and influence it takes to reshape the world.

Here at Princeton we have a great monument to individual power in the form of Lake Carnegie. My father’s dear friends, the Butler brothers ([18]’86) saw that the young men of Princeton lacked for adequate rowing facilities through which they could exercise the manly, Western vigor that stands in such stark contrast to fatalistic Oriental passivity. Themselves lacking the means to rectify this, they made a personal appeal to the Great Scot. He accepted, and at his sovereign command, like that of Neptune, the mighty Millstone River and stormy Stony Brook were tamed, their joint forces harnessed to create that majestic body of water we all know, love and jog around.

You could hardly ask for a clearer instance of Man fulfilling the divine commission to “fill the earth” (Gn. 1:28). It is such a manifestly beautiful thing that I was shocked to hear that an old classmate, whom I am accustomed to think of as a very sound man despite his Southern provenance and unseemly enthusiasm for the personality, politics and hairdo of the late President Jackson, has recently been peppering his famous monologues at the Thumpwaite Club with hostile remarks directed at the Lake.

This gentleman (whom I will decline to name, out of consideration for touchy Scoffpossum family pride) has apparently gone a little mad. He decries the lake as an instance of ‘plutocracy run amok’ and a sign of indifference to the ‘imperatives of civilization and cultivation’ whatever the hell that might mean. Worse, with demented earnestness, he claims that Carnegie, glutted with the pride that built Babel, had resolved to defy God by creating a second Flood to purge Princeton and environs of all those lazy American aristocrats who had metaphorically ‘sinned’ against the precepts of the Pilgrims…which precepts he believed were given an appropriately modern, scientific incarnation in his own atheistic-humanistic-capitalistic ethic. Because it is both an abomination in fact and tainted in principle by Carnegie’s Promethean intentions (says my friend) the Borough should have it drained and filled in.

The second claim deserves no response, and to the first my response is: ‘Bah! Tommyrot!’ Far from being a sign of ‘plutocracy run amok’, the Great Lake merely gives more support to my own position that only ‘plutocrats’ should be able to vote and legislate. They have the grand new visions for our country, and we would do well to hand the country to them and step out of the way. They already have the power to move men without coercion, so the least we as a society can do is give them the ability to remove tedious legal roadblocks to their goals.

On the off chance that he still has meaningful use of his reason, I offer my anonymous, mad old friend this advice: If you don’t like the Lake, don’t try to direct collective action like some goddamn environmentalist. Put your nose to the plough and your shoulder to the grindstone and make enough money to buy it off the University so you can do what you want with it. I know your beloved Oscar Wilde would be contemptuous of a life spent in search of business success, but my understanding is that Wilde was a sodomite.

One Night in Viv

Perceptive visitors to Princeton will have noticed that Senator Frist has donated an enormous student center to the University and named it after himself. At first I held the obvious and usual opinion that the name was but a harmless expression of the vainglory that few (if any) great men are without. But I now wonder if Dr. Frist may not have sought to accentuate the hypocrisy of the little Tilghmanistas who spout contemporary ‘liberal’ platitudes condemning conservative white males while reclining leisurely, amid multifarious amenities, in the houses that such males built and maintain.

Anyway, perhaps the most popular section of Frist is Café Vivian. I lack the modern passion for piped musak, so I ordinarily avoid the Café, stopping in only for a quick Chai here, a Chocolate Chunk Cookie there. But he who is not afraid to have his spirit crushed and heart broken may learn much about this generation in such a place, so yesterday evening I cast fear aside and boldly had my French mistress, Marie-Anne, wheel me into ‘Viv’. Marie-Anne went off to see a movie (and do God knows what else) with the pair of unhinged minxes she calls best friends, leaving me free to sit in the corner for many hours, watching and listening.

There was, as I expected, much to inspire rage and depression. I will no doubt have occasion to speak of many of these dread matters in the future, but at the moment I will only make two observations.

1)I have always preferred to call myself an Extremely Reformed Jew, rather than a ‘Christian’, because giving faith in Christ a categorically new name suggests that the apostles et. al. were involved in some sort of crudely revolutionary activity, rather than urging a rational and organic development of the faith of their Fathers. It was my privilege, as a precocious youngster, to meet Lord Beaconsfield in person and put forth my nascent political and religious theories, with which he wholeheartedly agreed. For this reason I maintain that I have been given a charism by the greatest Judeo-Christian since St. Paul. All this is merely to say that I have nothing against the beni Israel, with whom I feel far more religious and human solidarity than with that great horde of ‘Christians’ who worship Mary or with the hairy irrationalists of the East.

Yet I cannot help being disturbed by the totalizing influence of the Ashkenazi ‘persona’ on intellectual young gentiles. Self-deprecation, irony and debonair neurosis are fine things in their place, but surely they cannot be the only elements of entertaining and intelligent interaction. It was alarming that all the non-vapid conversations on which I eavesdropped (3-4% approx.) were conducted in this Woody Allenian mode, which easily and often lapsed into a mere smug, cynical egoism. Here for the first (and I hope last) time I will modify a term borrowed from Dr. Cornel West: We may call the near-universal perception that humorous intellectuality must conform to some 'Jewish' model the ‘Jewish Normative Gaze’. Nor am I just speculating when I say that this reflects a cultural aspiration to ‘Jewishness’ as these young people perceive it, for they frequently express this aspiration explicitly, saying such things as “I really wish I were Jewish.” etc.

For centuries the Children of Light have had to use intellect and humor as means of survival. They can be authentically wry and skeptical; they can slyly editorialize from the margins with real perspicacity. But it is almost obscene for these pampered young Protestants to wear hard-earned Jewish irony like a fashionable coat; in them it is based on no inherited wisdom, but merely post-Christian nihilism. It is time that we relearn to appreciate and aspire to other modes of charming brilliance, namely the modes of charming brilliance historically shown by talented members of the unself-conscious, cultural and religious majority. The majestic self-confidence, expansive extroversion, clarity of thought, certainty of judgment and elegant precision of speech shown by men like Dr. Johnson is priceless in its own way and quite worthy of emulation.

2)Of all the many ungodly fashions of recent times, this new craze for ‘leggings’ must be one of the most destructive. I looked on with disgusted despair as the daughters of respectable families, apparently unaware that they were effectively naked from the waist down, stood waiting for coffee with catatonic stares. The sons of respectable families also wore catatonic stares, as would any normal male beholding such a sight.

I grant you that I am no longer the youngest of men, but even in my testosterone-addled prime (as a young, unmarried Legionnaire) I would have found such flagrancy frightening. But not so with our sexually entitled young ‘men’, for whom anything less than visual third-base would be considered prudishness. The young women of today are no doubt feeling the collective pressure of their friends’ and potential paramours’ expectations when they paste on those glorified stockings: shall we perhaps speak of a Pimpish Normative Gaze? Ach, these young things are so insecure, impressionable and flighty they are damn near intolerable. I would get rid of Marie-Anne if I did not think i) that a mistress is an essential accessory for a man of my social standing, and ii)that my influence is, however slowly, doing her some good.

Eventually, I could no longer bear the musak, the inane conversations and the unrelenting indecent exposure. I called Marie-Anne to come and get me and she showed up with those two little devils. All three were visibly drunk and the short one was wearing leggings. I sighed, bit my tongue and stoically wheeled my way towards the Hummer.